The Scottish Government has confirmed some children over 12 will be offered the Covid vaccine, following new advice.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has made the recommendations based on new evidence.
Currently the Pfizer-BioNTech jab is the only Covid vaccine approved for over-12s in the UK, following a medical trial featuring this age group in the US.
The JCVI said children are at a “very low risk” from coronavirus and will likely have mild symptoms – but the benefits of receiving the jab outweigh the risks in some cases.
Which young people are eligible for the jab?
- Children aged 12-15 with underlying conditions that put them at risk of “serious consequences” from Covid-19
- Over-12s who are household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed
- Young people turning 18 before July 31
- Young people within three months of turning 18
The JCVI advice lists some of these underlying conditions as people with neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression, and multiple or severe learning disabilities.
Is the Covid vaccine safe for children?
A medical trial with 1,000 12-to-15-year-olds took place in the US and found any vaccine side effects were “generally short-lived, and mild to moderate”.
But wider data on the effects of the jabs in younger people is still being collected.
There have been some “extremely rare” reports of people suffering heart inflammation after receiving the Pfizer or Moderna jabs.
For this reason, the JCVI is taking a “precautionary” approach – and the “minimal” benefits of giving children a Covid jab do not outweigh the potential risks.