The UK's vaccination programme has been jabbing adults over the age of 18 left, right, and centre. And now that a large majority of the adult population has received at least one jab, authorities have been heavily debating whether or not to expand the programme to their younger, more delicate citizens.
Scientists and experts within the medical field have been divided about the issue, but the increasingly high transmission rate within UK schools has been adding fuel to the fire.
An expert’s opinion
More recently, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) spoke out against getting childrenandteenagersvaccinated. Professor Robert Dingwall believes that children have far more protection with natural immunity than with the vaccine. He tweeted:
Given the low risk of Covid for most teenagers, it is not immoral to think that they may be better protected by natural immunity generated through infection than by asking them to take the *possible* risk of a vaccine.
Dingwall says that the third wave may as well be the ‘last wave of mild infections’ that are sweeping across the unvaccinated younger population. According to him, the pandemic will come to a close only when population immunity is achieved, and that could be from vaccination or prior infection.
However, other experts disagree. Professor Jeffrey Almond—chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board—told Sky News that in order to reach herd immunity, children have to get vaccinated. He explained:
At the start of this we reckoned that you needed somewhere around 65% to 70% of the whole population to be immune in order to have that herd immunity which prevents the virus spreading.
Because, with 80% of the adult population (vaccinated), if that only represents 50% of the whole population, we’re still too low to prevent the virus spreading and it will spread in kids.
So, I’m in favour, if we can and when we can, of vaccinating children as well so that the whole population is immune to the point where the virus can no longer circulate.
As of now, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already approved the Pfizer vaccine for children over the age of 12, but the JCVI has yet to authorise its use.