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Why vaccinating all teens is a difficult decision

The UK's vaccine advisory body has decided not to recommend vaccines for healthy 12-15-year-olds, but it will offer vaccines to thousands more children with underlying health problems.

Ministers will now seek more advice on extending the rollout based on factors such as school disruption.

There is general agreement that this was a really tricky call to make. Bur The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has focused squarely on the health benefits of vaccination to children themselves - not on the impact to their schooling or other people.

Children's risk from Covid isn't zero but the chances of them becoming seriously ill from Covid are incredibly small. Deaths among healthy children are extremely rare - most have life-limiting health conditions.

That means there needs to be a clear and obvious advantage to giving them a jab. However, a very rare side-effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has made that calculation a lot more complicated.

Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at University of East Anglia, says there's been intense pressure on the JCVI and he can understand why they are being cautious.

"I don't know what the answer is - I'm very close to the fence on this. There's not enough data to be absolutely certain."

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Source: BBC News, 4 September 2021


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