Updates on Covid Vaccinations for Children Aged 5 Years and Over
23 December 2021
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has provided the following updates - advice applies to England and Wales. Contact for families with disabled children, who have led the campaign for wider vaccination, expect the Scotland and Northern Ireland governments, who have acted on previous JCVI advice, to follow these recommendations.
5 – 11 year olds
The JCVI has recommended that children aged 5 to 11, who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed, should be offered a primary course of Covid vaccination.
Following extensive assessment of the risks and benefits of vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds, including analysis of clinical trial results and real-world international data, the JCVI has updated its advice for this age group:
“Children aged 5 to 11 years in a clinical risk group (as defined in the Green Book), or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed (as defined in the Green Book), should be offered two 10 micrograms doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) with an interval of 8 weeks between the first and second doses. The minimum interval between any vaccine dose and recent COVID-19 infection should be 4 weeks.”
You may know from previous NHS correspondence that your child is in a clinical risk group as defined in the Green Book and will be eligible. If you are not sure, there is information here to consider, which you may wish to discuss with your GP.
As yet the NHS webpage - which details who can access vaccines, when and how - has not been updated, but we expect this to be updated soon.
Booster vaccination of 12 to 17 year olds
Separately, in response to the Omicron variant, the JCVI has advised that booster vaccinations should be offered to the following groups "no sooner than 3 months after completion of their primary course":
- 16 to 17 years
- 12 to 15 who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed
- 12 to 15 years who are severely immunocompromised and who have had a third primary dose
The JCVI states: "Prioritisation of booster vaccination within eligible cohorts should generally be in the order of descending age groups, or clinical risk, whichever is more expedient. Boosting of children in clinical risk groups should commence after the equivalent clinical risk adult groups; higher age is independently associated with a higher risk of complications from COVID-19 and these adults will have received their primary vaccinations earlier in the vaccine programme.”
The information on this page covers all the latest information that we currently have; we'll add any further updates in the new year.