There is a lot of speculation around the world regarding the Covid-19 vaccine for children as some experts suggest getting the shot while others recommend against it. Amid this confusion, the U government decided not to vaccinate most children and teenagers. According to the health officials, the government will decide to inoculate these children after receiving more data regarding the safety of the coronavirus vaccine for those under 18 years of age.
The UK government announced recently that those children and teenagers with compromised immunity are eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine. In addition, those children with Down syndrome, learning, and neuro disabilities can get the coronavirus vaccine.
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The expert advisory panel of the UK government recommended halting the Covid-19 vaccine for children and teens under 18 years of age. According to Sajid Javid, the health secretary of the UK government, the current advice of the vaccination committee goes against vaccinating those under 18 years of age. However, the committee will continue to observe scientific evidence and make decisions according to the recent data.
The decision of the UK government is against most European countries that decided to vaccinate children as young as 12 years old. Recently, the French government decided to set up vaccination camps in schools and universities over the coming months. The reports from Paris also show that many teenagers dropped at the vaccination centers in the last week.
According to the UK government, those under 18 years of age will receive the Pfizer vaccine. This is the only vaccine brand that the health authorities regulated for use among younger individuals in the UK. The vaccine developed in the UK, AstraZeneca, is still under trial to test the efficacy and safety among children. Until then, the government only authorizes the use of the Pfizer vaccine for inoculation in these individuals.
Apart from the safety and efficacy of vaccines among children, some experts question the morality of inoculating low-risk individuals. Many countries across the world have a shortage of coronavirus vaccines with the high-risk individuals still unvaccinated. These include people with underlying health conditions, compromised immunity, and older age.
Professor Andrew Pollard is a primary scientist in the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine. He said that high-risk individuals should have more access to vaccines as compared to children. Since underage adults and children develop mild symptoms of infection, they have a low hospitalization and death rate. Meanwhile, the vulnerable adults are mostly responsible for spreading the infection and develop severe symptoms of the disease.
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Prof. Pollard also mentioned that health care workers and older adults should have the priority of receiving the coronavirus vaccine. He said that the Oxford trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine will show if the authorities can increase the vaccination rate among children.
The pandemic situation in the UK improved over the past few weeks. Consequently, the government decided to ease the restrictions and open bars and restaurants at designated hours. Even though the number of coronavirus cases are on the rise, the large number of vaccinated individuals will help combat the spread of the virus.