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The Joint Committee on Vaccination & Immunisation, which advises the UK on immunization, has updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and has refused to extend vaccinations to children.
The committee now advises healthy children up to 15 years old do not receive a vaccine, while healthy teens ages 16 and 17 receive one dose of Pfizer vaccine.
The JCVI refused to recommend jabs for all 12 to 15-year-olds and only considered health aspects rather than social factors and recommended seeking further advice.
After weeks of pressure for a decision, the JCVI said the benefit to healthy kids health did not outweigh the risks, the Daily Mail reports.
The JCVI did recommend COVID vaccinations be extended to children in the age group with a serious condition involving their heart, lungs, kidneys or liver as well as neurological conditions, the article states. The move was also unprecedented as the first time the body has recommended seeking ‘further advice’ on a decision.
Professor Francois Balloux, director of the University College London Genetics Institute who led the first large-scale sequencing project of the Sars-CoV2 genome, said he believes this is a sensible recommendation.
“Though, what I, or anyone else, not sitting on the JCVI committee would have wished is largely irrelevant,” Balloux tweeted. “This is a committee of senior, highly qualified, thoughtful and principled scientists. I would have accepted their recommendations whatever decision they had reached.”
He said he has no doubt the committee carefully considered all the evidence available to them, and “reached the decision they genuinely believed would be most beneficial at this stage to society as a whole.”
Balloux said putting all child COVID vaccine views aside, society as a whole benefits from qualified and honorable scientific experts being able to provide advice free of external interference.
The previous JVCI statement JCVI statement on COVID-19 vaccination of children and young people aged 12 to 17 years from Aug. 4 can be read here.