A critical child vaccine study being run by Oxford University — which will make up minister’s minds — is expected shortly, with its conclusions due in June or July, according to The Telegraph. Israel is already giving jabs to 16 and 17-year-olds after deeming it safe to do so.
Meanwhile there are growing concerns over the spread of Covid variants across Europe as the continent is gripped by a third wave of the virus. The Times reports that Boris Johnson is under pressure to tighten border controls with France to prevent new strains being imported into the UK.
Priti Patel defends Boris after ‘Greed is good’ vaccine row
She told Sky News: “The Prime Minister always acknowledges the strong success we’ve had in terms of the vaccine, not just the rollout, which is incredible, but also our ability as a country to develop the vaccine, the role that pharmaceutical companies and science and technology has played in that.
“And actually I think that speaks to a great strength we have as a country.
“And linked to that, of course, look at our contributions to Covax, the international scheme, to get the vaccine supplies elsewhere and demonstrate that we are a very, very strong force for good internationally when it comes to vaccines, science and pharmaceutical development.”
Professor says more studies needed before decision is made on Children being vaccinated
Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said more than one study was needed before decisions were made about extending the vaccination programme to children.
“We’ll need to do more than one study,” he told Good Morning Britain.
“If it does turn out to be necessary to immunise children, I think it is more likely that we would prioritise teenagers over younger children, simply because the evidence we have at the moment is that transmission of the virus is more likely to occur from and between teenagers who are a little bit more like adults.
“I think what we need to learn before that, what proportion of the population we need to immunise in order to get effective herd immunity and to suppress circulation of the virus .
“In order to do that we need to have a clear understanding of how efficiently the vaccines actually interrupt infection and transmission and that evidence is still on its way at the moment.”
Referring to the aim to have the adult population vaccinated before the end of July, Prof Finn added: “During that time we will see what goes on with variants, with the circulation of the virus, and then we’ll be able to make a decision whether children need to be immunised – we clearly won’t want to do that unless it’s necessary.
“But if it is necessary we will by then know whether the vaccines are entirely safe and effective and we’re giving the right dose and so on, so that we go forward with that later in the year.”
Children should get vaccine in August- according to reports
Children should start getting the Covid vaccine by August in early government plans to push for maximum immunity from the virus, The Telegraph reported.
A critical safety check in a child vaccine study is currently being run by Oxford University will help make up minister’s minds on a timetable.
The study will test the AstraZeneca vaccine on 300 children ages 6 to 17 and is expected to conclude in June or July, the paper reported.
Israel is already giving jabs to 16 and 17-year-olds after deeming it safe to do so.
Good morning and welcome to the Evening Standard’s coronavirus liveblog on Wednesday 24 March 2021