Covid vaccine: Sheffield GP praises decision for 16 and 17-year-olds to be given jab "within weeks"
A GP in Sheffield says the decision to give out the Covid-19 vaccine to teenagers aged between 16 and 17 is “another step forward”.
It comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended yesterday, Wednesday, that all teens in the age bracket be offered their first jab as soon as possible.
They will not need parental consent and will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The annoucement means an estimated 1.4 million teenagers will be eligible across the UK.
The JCVI said last month that it needed more time to evaluate the risks and benefits of offering the vaccine to 16 and 17-year-olds, after some reports of adverse side effects like heart inflammation, but has now said that these events were "extremely rare" and that having the jab is recommended for this age group.
Dr Ollie Hart, GP At Sloan Medical Centre in Meersbrook, told The Star: "I think this is another step forward. There is increasing confidence in safety of vaccine in this group from millions of vaccinations around the world. A lot of the spread at the moment is in these younger age groups.
"Whilst ever there are high levels of spread we risk mutations and more dangerous strains developing.”
The decision comes after extensive trials and analysis by regulatory agencies found that the vaccine is effective and safe for use by young people.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said yesterday that a first dose of the vaccine should come “within weeks”, but that an announcement on a second dose will come at a later date.
The Government has now confirmed it will accept the JCVI’s recommendation and the NHS has been instructed to vaccinate those eligible “as soon as possible”.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said the decision to vaccinate teenagers came following “rigorously reviewed” trials in children and young people, adding: “All of this shows (the vaccine) is effective in the same way as we see in adults aged 16 to 25.
“This meant that the vaccine could be approved for use in young people aged 12 to 15 years.
“The safety data and adolescence was comparable to that we’ve seen in young adults and no new adverse events were identified.
“As in young adults, the safety profile showed mild to moderate reactions in line with the way the vaccine works, perhaps of temperature, sore arm, headache – that kind of thing.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to listen to the advice of experts and to get the vaccine if they are eligible.
There is not yet any updated guidance on exactly when the first dose of the jab will be offered to teenagers but this is expected to come as soon as possible.
The JCVI said it will now review the data on whether or not the Covid vaccine should next be offered to all those over the age of 12, but that this is a decision it would prefer not to make “at this point”.