Government officials in the United Kingdom could make a decision on whether or not to give COVID-19 vaccinations to kids in the coming days. The government's vaccine advisory panel, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), will provide an answer on whether the vaccines should be offered to that age group. JCVI Chair Wei Shen Lim confirmed on Tuesday that the decision would come after vaccines are cleared by the UK drugs regulator for use in 5-to-11-year-olds. He claimed,
We are discussing that at the moment. We're also waiting for the vaccines to be approved by MHRA.
The decision to come within days
Since Omicron is spreading widely throughout the UK, new Covid restrictions are being put in place. As such, the decision regarding vaccines for five-year-olds could be made before Christmas as well. On being asked if the vaccine roll-out could take place before Christmas, Professor Lim said,
I would expect so, we try and keep in step with the approval process.
The United Kingdom and its JCVI panel have been slammed for taking too long to approve Covid-19 vaccinations for children. While the US and much of Europe began administering vaccination to teenagers in the spring and summer, the United Kingdom delayed until September due to worries about rare heart side effects.
However, with the need of the hour, it has become important to start vaccinating as many people as possible, including children. Boris Johnson stressed the necessity of having the booster shot before the holiday season in a televised address on Sunday. He said the booster campaign was unlike anything the UK had ever seen, and that the message was simple: ‘Get Boosted Now.’ He argued,
To hit the pace we need, we’ll need to match the NHS’s best vaccination day yet – and then beat it day after day. This will require an extraordinary effort.
And as we focus on boosters and make this new target achievable, it will mean some other appointments will need to be postponed until the New Year.
Initially, the plan was to offer booster shots to all adults by the end of January. However, with Omicron cases doubling every day, the end of December has been made the new target. Evidently, citizens of the UK are also proactively responding to the booster drive. The NHS website crashed a day after the PM's announcement due to a heavy rush of visitors.