Majority of children and young people won't receive COVID vaccine
Only teenagers at higher risk of falling ill from COVID will be offered a vaccine, the Scottish Government has announced.
The decision follows the latest recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The committee also recommends household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed will also be offered the vaccine.
Teenagers within three months of their 18th birthday will be offered the jab.
It means the vast majority of children and young people aged 12 years and over will not receive a jag.
UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that the UK government will also follow the JCVI advice.
Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said: “In line with the JCVI’s most recent advice, children and young people aged 12 to 15-years old who have particular underlying conditions that put them at increased risk of serious consequences from COVID-19 will now be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Children and young people aged 12 years and over who are household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed will also be offered the vaccine. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to follow the expert advice from the JCVI.
“Work is underway to deliver this in the forthcoming weeks.
“The JCVI will continue to fully assess all available data as a priority and advice will be kept under active review. I know that the committee will give any additional update to advice as soon as the evidence supports this and, in the meantime, we will offer the vaccine to those children and young people currently recommended.
“We are already vaccinating young people who will turn 18 by 31st July and we will continue to roll-out invites for those who will turn 18-years-old within a three month window.
“It remains crucial that everyone who is offered a vaccination takes up the offer.”
Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 12 to 17 in the UK.
In a statement on Twitter, health secretary Humza Yousaf said as the father of a 12-year-old he knew "feelings are strong" on the subject of vaccinating children.
He added: "Universal vaccination of under 18s isn't recommended. This position is very much being kept under review.
"JCVI on balance would like to review more data on vaccine effect on young people, so prefer a precautionary approach, given the low risk of serious illness from Covid to young people.