Children should not be vaccinated against Covid until jabs have gone to poorer countries, the scientist behind the Oxford vaccine has said. 

Prof Sir Andrew Pollard made the comments as public health chiefs said the benefit of vaccines to children was "small", with careful monitoring required before any rollout to under-18s. 

A member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has said that children’s risk of death from Covid is "one in a million".

Prof Sir Andrew told MPs: "[There is] a moral objection to vaccinating a population that is [at] extremely low risk of disease whilst we know in many parts of the world there are people who will die over the next three months because they have no access to the vaccine.

"The priority, if we take a global perspective, has to be to save lives around the world and to have had doses made available as early as possible to those at greater risk."

On Wednesday, a Cabinet minister said she understood that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) would not give the green light for administering Covid jabs to children.

Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, made the comments after The Telegraph revealed that the JCVI intends to advise ministers against mass rollout to children until scientists obtain more data on the risks.  

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, told MPs: "You have to weigh up the risks and benefits, you have to see what is the benefits to vaccinating children actually for their own health, it is small at the moment."

Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of Sage, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that "the risk of death [for children from Covid] is one in a million," saying he was veering against vaccination. 

The UK’s medicines regulator has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid jab for use among children aged 12 and over in the UK. The Government is awaiting a recommendation from the JCVI.