Children over six months and under five are now being offered the Covid vaccine in the US, but will the UK follow?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s external advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children under five across America after data showed both vaccines to be safe and effective.
Both jabs will be rolled out in the US soon. The Pfizer vaccine applies to children from six months to four years old, while the Moderna vaccine applies to children from six months to five years old.
The US joins only a handful of countries offering vaccines to children under five, including China, Argentina, Hong Kong, Cuba, Venezuela, Bahrain and Chile.
But currently in the UK, children under five are not eligible for Covid vaccines, although those between the ages of five and 11 can get the shot. dr. Nikki Kanani, deputy leader of the NHS vaccination programme, said the vaccines still remain “the best defense” against the coronavirus.
So, where are we with vaccines for under fives?
Will the UK roll out vaccines for children under five?
The Department of Health and Social Care has not suggested vaccines for children under five are on the way and the 2022 fall booster program will once again target older and more vulnerable groups.
Still, when asked about the likelihood of children under five being offered vaccines at the University of East Anglia, Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said: “I suspect it’s being watched. .”
When asked if he thinks under-fives should be vaccinated, he said: “I personally doubt that. Nearly all children under five have now had at least one infection and many will have had two, especially after this current wave is over.”
He continued: “The severity of the disease in children under five is significantly less than in older age groups. The only serious disease in this group was multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS).
“There were also concerns about vaccine side effects, particularly myocarditis, although I think if I’m fair to say this isn’t as big of a risk as originally thought,
“So I don’t think there’s a great need for vaccination under the age of five, but if I didn’t retire from clinical practice, I’d give the vaccine if the parents really wanted it for their child.”
Why are children vaccinated?
While young children are likely to have mild Covid symptoms, this is not always the case and children can still be affected by long-term Covid. For this reason, older children are vaccinated, but also to minimize disruptions to education by Covid.
UK vaccine advisers have said the injections will help aid children’s “future-proof defences” against infection.
“This vaccine promises to be very safe, it promises to be very effective,” said Professor Steve Turner of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health. “We know this because other countries use it on their young children as well.”
Which children are eligible for vaccination in the UK?
Anyone aged five to 11 is eligible for the vaccine. Young children suffering from underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system were the first to receive the shot.
“Parents can, if they wish, take up the offer to their children to increase protection against Covid while we learn to live with this virus,” Health and Social Care Minister Sajid Javid said earlier.
“Children without underlying health conditions are at low risk of serious illness from Covid-19 and the priority for the NHS remains to provide vaccines and boosters to adults and vulnerable young people, and to catch up with other childhood vaccination programmes.”
What Are the Side Effects of Childhood Vaccines?
According to the official government website, children can experience common side effects in the first or two days, including:
have a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where they had their injection
headache, pain and chills.
Your child may have flu-like symptoms such as shivering and shaking for several days. But if they have a high temperature, it could indicate they have Covid-19 or some other infection, so they should get a Covid test.