16 and 17-year-olds become eligible to receive Covid-19 vaccine

ISLANDERS aged 16 and 17 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer/Biontech Covid-19 vaccine, the government has announced.

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31428756)
Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31428756)

The offer has also been extended to those between 12 and 15-years-old with specific underlying health conditions including a severe neuro-disability, immunosuppression and Down's syndrome.

Health Minister Richard Renouf, said the government had made the decision based on advice issued by the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

'The JCVI have carefully considered the balance of risks for under-18s to have the vaccine, and I am confident that their recommendations are based on sound research and robust data.

'We will provide more details on the second dose for 16-17 year-olds as soon as the JCVI has confirmed its advice.'

Meanwhile, Dr Ivan Muscat, deputy medical officer of health, moved to offer Islanders reassurance that it was 'safe and effective' to vaccinate those within the affected age groups.

'I would like to reassure Islanders that these vaccines are safe and effective for use in this age group. The vaccine has been through rigorous clinical trials to test these vaccines in younger people and there is now considerable post-marketing experience of vaccination within this group.

'It has, of course, been authorised by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Additionally, it is used routinely in these age groups in the USA, Canada and other countries.

'Although serious illness from Covid-19 is fairly rare amongst healthy young people, there is still a risk, and the risk is higher for those who are classed as clinically vulnerable. If they choose to be vaccinated, they will have a significant measure of protection against serious illness.'

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