Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UK to offer vaccine jabs to all aged 16, 17

Single vaccine dose expected to protect age group against severe illness, hospitalization, says senior health official

Karim El-Bar   | 04.08.2021
UK to offer vaccine jabs to all aged 16, 17

LONDON

First doses of COVID-19 vaccines will now be offered to all 16- and 17-year-olds in the UK, authorities announced on Wednesday.

The teenagers, who number around 1.4 million, will not need consent from their parents, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) said, adding that a decision on second doses will be put off until data is further analyzed.

“While COVID-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in most young people, it can be very unpleasant for some and for this particular age group. We expect one dose of the vaccine to provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalization,” said Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 chair for the JCVI.

Currently, the only vaccine approved in the UK for people under the age of 18 is Pfizer-BioNTech.

The vaccine will not be offered to 12- to 15-year-olds as of now, but this could change.

The exception in this age group is people with underlying health conditions and those living with family members deemed at risk of severe COVID-19.

Sajid Javid, the UK’s health secretary, accepted the JCVI’s advice and has asked the National Health Service to prepare to vaccinate newly eligible individuals “as soon as possible.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also urged “all families thinking about this across the country to listen to the JCVI.”

“They are extremely expert there. They’re amongst the best, if not the best in the world; they know what’s safe and I think we should listen to them and take our lead from them,” he said.

Countries such as the US and France have already started to vaccinate teenagers.

Government data released on Wednesday showed that there were a further 29,312 infections and 119 fatalities across the UK over the past 24 hours.

This takes the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to over 5.92 million, including a death toll of 130,000.

Over 46.92 million Brits – 88.7% of the population – have received the first jab, while more than 38.73 million – 73.2% – are fully vaccinated, according to the latest figures.

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