Vaccines for U18s being considered

TALKS are under way between Health officials, those working with children and young people and the children’s commissioner about how a possible roll out of the Covid vaccine to under-18s may work.

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30879705)
Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30879705)

Although there is no official advice on when, how or even if children and young people could be offered a jab, indications suggest that such an announcement could be made this summer.

Alex Khaldi, Jersey’s director of public health policy, told the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel yesterday that the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was currently considering the matter, including American trials of the use of the Pfizer vaccine among 12-to-15-year-olds.

‘We would not expect to see any announcement about the vaccination of under-18s over the course of the next month or two, but it may be something which emerges in the middle of the year, around the June and July period, with potentially some changes to our vaccination programme to take account of that advice a little later on,’ he said.

He added that the discussions under way locally regarding the matter included considering children’s rights.

Meanwhile, the panel also heard that Jersey is planning ahead to make sure it is ready to administer booster vaccines this autumn if the advice from the JCVI changes.

Health Minister Richard Renouf, who was giving his quarterly update to the panel, said those preparations included talking to GPs about how such a rollout could work.

And Mr Khaldi added: ‘It is reasonable to assume for the purposes of planning there will be some form of booster programme happening in the autumn, at least for the over-50s.

‘Beyond that we are not yet sure whether the booster provided will be simply to combat waning immunity and be the same product currently being administered or whether they will be tweaked to take into account some of these variants.

‘We are very much in readiness and all of the consultation you would expect with primary care and others on the Island is happening to ensure we can deliver the most efficient and appropriate programme for boosters we can.’

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