The vaccine has been going down the age groups of over-18s (pictured) – but chldren are still an open question (Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
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Most British teenagers would not get the Covid jab in the near future under plans being considered by ministers.
Government advisors are reportedly set to recommend tomorrow that over-12s should only receive the vaccine if they are vulnerable, or share a household with someone who is.
All seventeen-year-olds who have their 18th birthday within three months would get mass vaccination, but younger teens would not, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
The government today insisted ministers had not yet taken a final decision.
But a minister confirmed the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) was looking at the issue.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the advice would cover “whether or not we should open up the vaccine programme in the first instance to those children who are just short of their 18th birthday, to those children who have particular vulnerabilities and those children who are in households where there are people who are particularly vulnerable”.
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Mr Jenrick added that “seems a sensible way to proceed”, adding: “We will be looking carefully at their advice when we receive it – we expect it very soon.”
It comes despite pressure for the government to offer the vaccine to all teenagers to dampen spiralling cases.
The UK regulator approved the Pfizer jab six weeks ago for use in children aged 12 to 15. Those aged 16 or 17 can already be jabbed if they are in a vulnerable group.
But the JCVI have been locked in talks over the ethical dilemma of whether to immunise children against a disease that mainly affects their elders.
The Tony Blair Institute today recommended vaccinating all 12 to 17 year olds with the Pfizer jab until other vaccinates are approved for that age group, to help open up society.
SAGE member Prof Neil Ferguson warned large numbers of teenagers would have to be either vaccinated or infected with Covid before the UK’s third wave can recede.
He told the BBC: “We won't be able to reach herd immunity without significant immunity in people under 18."
A source told the Sunday Telegraph the JCVI would keep the option of vaccinating all children under review.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The government will continue to be guided by the advice of the JCVI.
“No decisions have been made by ministers on whether people aged 12 to 17 should be routinely offered COVID-19 vaccines.”
An NHS spokesman said: "Since the start of the NHS Covid vaccination programme, the NHS has followed JCVI guidance on delivering vaccinations to the population in England.
"If the JCVI updates its guidance, the NHS will act swiftly to reflect any changes and will continue to deliver Covid jabs to those eligible as quickly as possible, as it has done after previous updates."