Delta variant: Expert on vaccines’ impact on transmissibility
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Coronavirus vaccines have been given to 47 million people so far in the UK. Whether children aged under 16 will receive the vaccine has been a highly contentious topic. Members of the government’s expert committee on vaccination remain largely opposed to extending Covid jabs to younger teenagers according to recent reports.
The decision to vaccinate children has split many countries around the world.
In Britain, 89 percent of the adult population have received one dose so far, with 74.8 percent now fully vaccinated.
All 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK will begin receiving a first dose of the Covid jab in a matter of weeks according to a recommendation from vaccine experts.
These children will not require parental consent to get the Pfizer-BioNTech jab according to the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation.
A recent poll found almost 75 percent of Britons are in support of extending the UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme to include children aged 12 and over.
The JL Partners survey for the Daily Mail revealed three in four voters believe children over 12 should get jabbed.
A majority said parents should encourage their teenagers to get the jab and 44 percent of respondents said they wanted the vaccine program extended to include children over the age of five.
Just 38 percent opposed the move, according to the survey which included 1,007 people in the UK aged 16 on Thursday.
Despite this enthusiasm for children to get the jab, 65 percent of those polled were against the idea of handing out incentives such as free pizza to children to get vaccinated.
Children have been a low priority in terms of vaccinations in many countries because they tend to be at a very low risk of being seriously ill with Covid.
Research from King’s College London revealed children who become ill with coronavirus rarely experience long-term symptoms, with most recovering in less than a week.
However, many experts have argued for children to be vaccinated because children can act as a reservoir of virus – passing it onto their friends, schoolmates, families and other vulnerable adults.
Some believe doses given to children could save more lives if they were redistributed to vulnerable adults and health workers in poorer countries around the world.
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With this change in guidance announced last week, 1.4 million teenagers will now be eligible for the jab in the UK.
Children over the age of 12 who have certain health conditions, live with others who are at high risk or are nearing their 18th birthday are also eligible for the jab.
However, there are millions of children still unable to get the jab in the UK – while some other countries are routinely offering children the vaccine.
The US has been vaccinating children aged 12 and over since May.
In addition, many European countries including France and Italy, have been giving the vaccine to children of this age group.
Other European countries currently vaccinating children include Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Austria and Hungary.
Brazil, Japan, Israel and Hong Kong are also vaccinating children.
A potential link between the Pfizer vaccine and heart inflammation — conditions called myocarditis and pericarditis — has emerged since Israel and the United States began vaccinating young people.
But researchers do not yet have enough evidence to conclusively draw a link between the vaccine and inflammation.
Most of those affected by this condition have now recovered and medical experts say the risk of these illnesses in children is extremely low.
According to the latest data, these conditions impact about 67 cases per million second doses in adolescent males aged 12 to 17 and nine per million in adolescent females in the same age group.
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