COVID: Children aged 12 to 15 now eligible for first dose of Pfizer vaccine

The UK has entered yet another phase of vaccination as they’re rolling out first doses for 12 to 15-year-olds and boosters jabs for all over 50.

COVID Vaccination in the UK
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COVID Vaccination in the UK

After months of deliberation, the British government has finally authorised the vaccination of children between the ages of 12 and 15. This means that an additional three million individuals in the UK are eligible to get one jab of the COVID vaccine from 20 September.

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Why vaccinate the young?

The government explained that this landmark decision was taken so that the students’ academic progress will not be affected by any disruptions. They’re hoping that vaccinating younger populations will keep them in school and also minimise transmission of the virus. They stated on GOV.UK:

Vaccinating children should help to reduce the need for children to have time off school and to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme in secondary schools will therefore provide protection to children who are vaccinated and help to reduce disruption to face to face education this winter.

Vaccination programme for young people

As of now, young people from ages 12 to 17 are only allowed to get one dose of the Pfizer jab and the programme will mainly be carried out in school. For children who are being homeschooled, authorities have said that alternative plans will be organised by the School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS). 16 to 17 year olds can get vaccinated in some walk-in clinics, however that option is not available for children under 16.

The government also confirmed that parental consent will not be required for vaccination if the child is deemed ‘competent’ enough to understand the procedure. However, if there is a disagreement between parents and their child, trained professionals from the SAIS team will be present to mediate.

The vaccination programme for young people will start in England, Wales, and Scotland this week. Meanwhile in Ireland, the programme is expected to commence in October.

COVID: Vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 are now available in England COVID: Vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 are now available in England