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Vaccinating children against Covid-19: ‘No final decisions have been made’

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No final decisions have been made on vaccinating children against Covid-19, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said.

Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol who sits on the JCVI, said more than one study is needed before decisions are made about extending the vaccination programme to youngsters.

While children are unlikely to fall ill with Covid-19, they do play a role in transmitting the virus.

HEALTH Coronavirus / PA Graphics

The University of Oxford is currently carrying out a clinical trial on children to test the safety and efficacy of its vaccine in younger age groups, with initial results expected in the summer.

The trial is working with partner sites in London, Southampton and Bristol and includes around 300 youngsters aged six to 17.

Responding to reports that children could be vaccinated from August, Prof Finn told Good Morning Britain: “As far as I know there has been no decision made to immunise children starting in August, or indeed any decision been taken to immunise children at all at this point.

“But it’s certainly something that we might need to do.”

He said results from more than one study are needed, adding: “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 (is) 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.”

The Department of Health said no decision had been made on whether to vaccinate children / PA Wire

Referring to the aim to have the adult population vaccinated before the end of July, Prof Finn said: “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.

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