Covid vaccine to be offered to clinically at-risk 5 to 11 year olds
Scotland’s chief medical officer has confirmed that primary school-aged children with underlying health conditions will be vaccinated against Covid.
Professor Gregor Smith said the Scottish Government would follow advice issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that children aged five to 11 who are in a clinical risk group or are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed should receive two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
Earlier, the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had approved a new age-appropriate formulation of the vaccine after finding it to be safe and effective.
Smith said: “As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to follow the expert advice from the JCVI, and I welcome today’s update.
“In order to protect against the Omicron variant, our current priority is to protect those most at risk from severe illness and hospitalisation from the virus. Our immediate focus is ensuring all those aged 18 and above who are eligible for a booster have been offered one.
“Therefore, appointments for those newly eligible following today’s updated JCVI recommendations are not currently being scheduled and they should not come forward until invited. We will however provide a further update on the timescale for offering vaccination to these groups in the new year.”
The JCVI also said booster jabs should be offered to 16 and 17 years olds and those aged 12 to 15 who are at an increased clinical risk.
The announcements came as daily Covid infections topped 100,000 in the UK for the first time since the pandemic began.
In Scotland, a further 2,434 cases were recorded and 11 deaths.
Meanwhile, a study by the University of Edinburgh has found the risk of hospitalisation with Omicron could be two-thirds lower than with Delta.
However, the study was based on just 15 people in hospital.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “This is encouraging early data - hopefully confidence will build as we get more data.
“Key point to remember tho - a smaller % of a much larger number of cases will still put increased pressure on NHS and economy. So we must keep suppressing virus while we complete boosters.”
Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe