Despite the government's vaccine advisers' findings that the vaccination would have very marginal health advantages, Britain's chief medical officers agreed on Monday that youngsters aged 12 to 15 should be immunised against COVID-19.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be administered to the age group in a single dosage, according to England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. They haven't decided whether or not to give the students another dose.
The government has stated that it is very likely to adopt the advice. Expanded vaccinations are likely to be part of a "tool kit" to combat COVID-19 outbreaks this fall and winter, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil at a news conference on Tuesday.
Instead of imposing limitations, Johnson's Conservative government hopes that widespread immunizations will keep COVID-19 illnesses at home.
Other nations, such as the United States, Canada, France, and Italy, have already made coronavirus vaccines available to children aged 12 and higher, but the United Kingdom has yet to do so. It is currently inoculating people aged 16 and up, with over 90% of those eligible receiving at least one dosage.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization of the United Kingdom stated earlier this month that immunizations should be administered to 12- to 15-year-olds with underlying health issues. However, it refused to support a rollout to healthy youngsters who are at little risk of serious disease from the virus, claiming that the direct health benefits would be minimal.
It did say, however, that there may be broader socioeconomic issues to consider, such as schooling or children functioning as transmission sources to more vulnerable groups.
The chief medical officers stated that “vaccination is likely to help minimise COVID-19 transmission in schools,” and that they were recommending the immunizations for public health reasons.
Johnson is expected to say in his roadmap speech that the government will give up some of the emergency powers granted by Parliament after the pandemic began last year, including as the ability to close businesses and schools, restrict gatherings, and imprison infected persons.
The revelation of a new virus roadmap comes a year after Johnson defied scientific advice to put the country on lockdown, only to reverse his decision after coronavirus infections skyrocketed.
Virus incidences are now ten times more than they were a year ago, yet immunizations are keeping many Britons healthy. Despite this, more than 100 coronavirus deaths are reported every day in the United Kingdom, and around 8,000 people are hospitalised with COVID-19. That's less than a quarter of the high in the winter, but it's growing.
If cases continue to rise, Johnson is anticipated to announce that mask-wearing, work-from-home recommendations, and social distancing measures, which were eased in July, may be reinstated.
His Conservative government, on the other hand, is fighting stricter measures, putting on hold a plan to create vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded places.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said on Sunday that the vaccine passes, which have been implemented in a number of European nations and are set to begin in England at the end of September, were a "massive intrusion into people's life." He stated that the administration would keep the idea "in reserve," but that it would not be implemented at this time.
Since nightclubs reopened in July after more than a year of suspension, Johnson's spokesman, Max Blain, said they haven't been tied to any "major instances or hospitalizations."
He stated, "We are not witnessing the exponential rises that some had predicted."
Vaccine passports have been proposed by some experts as a tool to encourage young people to be vaccinated, but others worry that forcing vaccination rather than promoting it could increase hesitation. Many in the entertainment sector opposed the bill as an onerous regulation, while some Conservative parliamentarians and the opposition Liberal Democrats objected on civil liberties grounds.
In England, the government's decision is binding. Scotland, which has complete control over its health policies, wants to implement vaccine passports for packed venues next month.
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