JCVI Issues Advice on COVID-19 Vaccination of Children and Young People

20 July 2021

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has looked at the available evidence around vaccinating children and young people under the age of 18.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine that has been authorised for children in the UK for those aged 12 or older. The JCVI have now advised that children at increased risk of serious COVID-19 disease are offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. That includes children aged 12 to 15 with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities.

The JCVI also recommends that children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine. This is to indirectly protect their immunosuppressed household contacts, who are at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 and may not generate a full immune response to vaccination.

Under existing advice, young people aged 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious COVID-19 should have already been offered vaccination. The JCVI is not currently advising routine vaccination of children outside of these groups, based on the current evidence, but will keep this advice under review as more safety and effectiveness information becomes available.

The current announcement means that some 12 to 15 years olds who are immunosuppressed and have a muscle-wasting condition may now be eligible for vaccination. SMA UK and other patient groups are awaiting expert advice and guidance on this and will update the community as soon as we can. 

Genetic Alliance UK hosted a webinar with Liz Whittaker, infectious disease lead at Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) and Senior Clinical Lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Imperial College London, who gave a presentation and answered questions about covid-19 vaccines for children and the JCVI’s recommendation. She acknowledged that further details around eligibility and the plan for roll-out is still being worked on. We will publish a link to a recording of this session when it becomes available.

Meanwhile, Contact have information and Q&As here: FAQs about latest JCVI guidance on Covid-19 vaccines for children

The information on this page covers all the latest updates that we currently have, but if you'd like to speak with a member of our support team you can call the office 01789 267520 or email office@smauk.org.uk