Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer is to write to vaccines body JCVI this week for advice on teen Covid vaccinations.
Speaking at today’s COVID update, Ms Sturgeon said that, as schools in Scotland prepare to return, it’s important to get updated advice on teenage vaccinations as soon as possible.
Dr Gregor Smith will write to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) this week.
Solid advice needed
The JCVI’s current position on teenage vaccinations is that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be offered to children at increased risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
Young people aged 12-17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should also be offered the jab. Teenagers outwith those groups are currently not being offered vaccines.
The First Minister also stressed that the Scottish Parliament had never deviated from JCVI advice and to do so now over teen Covid vaccinations would be “controversial to put it mildly”.
Ms Sturgeon said she discusses vaccinations for teenagers in Scotland on a daily basis.
“The question I’m asking is a binary one,” she said. “Is getting the virus more or less dangerous than getting the vaccine? That’s what I’m keen to get solid advice around.”
Parents push for decision
Vaccinations are only one defence against the virus and the First Minister also spoke about the need for “wider mitigations”. These include self isolation, distancing, mask wearing and ventilation. The First Minister will provide more detail about this at next week’s briefing.
Meanwhile, Ireland has today opened registrations for teen Covid vaccinations, for those aged 16 and 17. Back to school plans were set out before cabinet ahead of Irish schools returning in late August.
The clock is ticking for Scotland as only three weeks remain of the summer holidays. Some parents feel decisive action is needed now to protect teenagers with a vaccination. Kirsteen Campbell, of Thrumster, Caithness, is mum to Ryan, 15, and Sammie, 19.
“I absolutely want Ryan to be vaccinated,” said Mrs Campbell. “We saw a rise in school cases before the holidays. With the schools currently on holiday, numbers are coming down.
“When swine flu was on the go Ryan had a nasal vaccination for it. He’s as big as an adult – he should have the same protection.”
Mrs Campbell also feels that daughter Sammie, who studies at North Highland College, should have been offered her jab sooner.
“Sammie has had her first vaccination but the second isn’t due until the end of September. Teenagers who have left school should really have been vaccinated sooner for colleges and universities restarting.”