Britain’s medical authorities recommended vaccination against the coronavirus for children between 12 and 15 years old, despite government advisers on the issue of vaccines claiming that such a measure would have minimal health benefits.
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said Monday that that age group should receive a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. However, they have not yet decided whether it is appropriate to apply a second dose.
The government has indicated that the recommendations are highly likely to be followed. Vaccination is expected to be part of a “kit of tools” to control COVID-19 infections in the coming fall and winter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce at a press conference on Tuesday.
Johnson’s Conservative government hopes that widespread vaccination, rather than restrictions, will help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Other countries, including the United States, Canada, France and Italy, already offer COVID vaccines for children 12 and older, but Britain had not. British authorities are already inoculating the population aged 16 and over, and about 90% of the eligible population have received at least one dose of vaccine.
Earlier this month, Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization indicated that the vaccines should be given to children aged 12 to 15 with underlying health problems, but failed to endorse vaccination for healthy children, who are at low risk of becoming seriously ill in case of contracting the virus.
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