Teenagers across UK set to be offered Covid jabs
Teenagers across Scotland and the UK look set to be offered a jab against Covid after the UK's four chief medical officers recommended expanding the vaccine programme.
Their recommendation to health ministers comes after the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended against offering jabs to all 12 to 15-year olds, saying it would only be marginally better to vaccinate youngsters than not.
However, they made clear their recommendation was based on looking solely at the health benefits and risks of vaccination, meaning it had not considered wider societal impacts such as schooling.
In their letter, the CMOs said the wider rollout could reduce disruption. They said: “COVID-19 is a disease which can be very effectively transmitted by mass spreading events, especially with Delta variant.
"Having a significant proportion of pupils vaccinated is likely to reduce the probability of such events which are likely to cause local outbreaks in, or associated with, schools.
"They will also reduce the chance an individual child gets COVID-19. This means vaccination is likely to reduce (but not eliminate) education disruption."
At this stage, the clinicians have only recommended a single dose of the Pfizer. The decision on second dose has been deferred until Spring.
In a statement, Scottish health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “On 3 September, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that whilst there were individual health benefits to vaccinating 12 -15 year olds, these were too marginal to recommend universal vaccination of this group. However, the committee suggested governments might want to seek further input from CMOs on the wider public health impact vaccination could have.
“Myself and the three other health ministers therefore commissioned the UK CMOs to look into this and, after consideration with clinical and public health leaders from all four nations, they have agreed the additional likely benefits of reducing educational disruption, in addition to the benefits identified by the JCVI, provide sufficient extra advantage to justify the offer of vaccination to this group.
“Health ministers are now considering this advice and we will make a decision as soon as possible.
“In the meantime I want to thank Dr Gregor Smith and the other three UK CMOs for their time and careful consideration of this issue.”