Everyone aged between 12 and 15-years-old will be offered a coronavirus vaccine, Wales’ Health Minister has confirmed.
It comes after Wales’ Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton, alongside his counterparts in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, recommended the vaccinations, due to concerns over school disruption and post-Covid syndrome, or Long Covid as it is also known.
However, recent advice from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) only recommended vaccinations for those in this age group who have underlying health conditions.
The advice said that while the health benefits of vaccinations for 12-15-year-olds without underlying health conditions outweighed the potential harms, the margin of benefit was considered too small for them to recommend universal vaccination of this age group.
However, the JCVI advised that if ministers agreed there were wider issues outside of the JCVI’s remit that needed to be considered, such as education and mental health, then the four Chief Medical Officers would be best placed to advise on the matter.
In a statement, Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “I am particularly concerned that some studies show that one in seven children who have Covid infections are thought to develop post Covid syndrome.
After careful consideration, on public health grounds, the UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that all children and young people aged 12-15 not already covered by existing JCVI advice should be offered a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.”
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Mrs Morgan said the Chief Medical Officers “have decided that the additional likely benefits of reducing educational disruption and the resulting reduction in public health harm provide enough extra advantage to recommend in favour of vaccinating this group. In addition, there is a small advantage at an individual level as already identified by the JCVI”.
Mrs Morgan said this age group will start receiving vaccination invites in “the next couple of weeks”.
She continued: “The vaccine is not mandatory and people can choose whether to have the vaccine or not. There will be appropriate information made available for children and young people and their parents to make up their minds about vaccination. Parents or guardians will be asked to give consent.
“I encourage parents, guardians, children and young people to discuss together whether or not to have the vaccination.”
Who has been vaccinated so far?
The percentage of people in Wales who have received their first and second vaccine is broken down below:
Care home residents: 98.1% first dose; 95.7% second dose
Care home workers: 94% first dose; 91% second dose
Healthcare workers: 96.9% first dose; 94.9% second dose
Social care workers: 45,690 first dose; 45,022 second dose
Aged 80 and above: 96.2% first dose; 95.1% second dose
Aged 75-79: 96.9% first dose; 96.2% second dose
Aged 70-74: 96.3% first dose; 95.6% second dose
Clinically extremely vulnerable people aged 16-69 : 94.4% first dose; 92.1% second dose
Aged 65-69: 95.1% first dose; 94.2% second dose
Clinical risk groups aged 16 to 64: 90.4% first dose; 87% second dose
Aged 60-64: 93.5% first dose; 92.2% second dose
Aged 55-59: 91.8% first dose; 90.2% second dose
Aged 50-54: 89.9% first dose; 87.8% second dose
Aged 40-49: 84.9% first dose; 81.5% second dose
Aged 30-39: 77.9% first dose; 71.9% second dose
Aged 18-29: 77% first dose; 67.9% second dose
Aged 16-17: 68.5% first dose; 12.7% second dose
Source: Public Health Wales
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