The United Kingdom has decided to halt COVID-19 vaccinations for all persons under age 16 until further data on the effects of the vaccine is analyzed.
Children as young as 12 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, as well as those who are household contacts of individuals who are immunosuppressed, will be eligible for vaccination, the government said Monday. The decision to hold off on vaccinating most kids under the age of 18 comes after a panel of medical advisors reviewed the vaccination effects and made the call late last week.
“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization said the health benefits of universal vaccination don’t outweigh the risks for most young people, who typically suffer only mild symptoms of the virus”, per a report by the Associated Press.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement that “today’s advice does not recommend vaccinating under-18s without underlying health conditions at this point in time. But the JCVI will continue to review new data, and consider whether to recommend vaccinating under-18s without underlying health conditions at a future date.”
In the U.K., children and teenagers who are eligible for vaccination will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the only one British regulators have authorized for use in those under 18.