Travel: Expert discusses vaccines and Covid tests
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Vaccine progress has directed life towards “normal” once more, with the UK on course for “Freedom Day” on July 19. The NHS’ vaccine programme has passed through every vital age group to over-18s as officials endeavour to deprive the virus of any viable breeding ground. Talks about the vaccine programme have so far excluded anyone younger, but some countries have forged ahead and extended an offer to people aged 12 and over.
Do over 12s need a Covid vaccine in the UK?
Health officials in the UK have prioritised vaccines for the most vulnerable since the programme first debuted.
Generally, they have discounted children from discussions on future steps, as evidence shows the youngest people tend not to suffer the ill effects of COVID-19.
Experts have identified a “tiny” risk for children, with most infections asymptomatic.
As such, the youngest population living in the UK haven’t had vaccine offers yet.
A limited group of children aged 12 to 15 can get the jab if they have severe neuro-disabilities.
But this doesn’t mean children aren’t contributing to the pandemic, as they can still transmit infections.
Some experts previously feared reopening schools would spike Covid rates across the country, risking vulnerable people such as grandparents.
And some countries have already planned for this risk by extending their programmes to cover children.
Italy was one of the first, giving the green light for children’s vaccines by June 3.
The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) allowed them to go ahead after a similar ruling from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Officials ruled the Pfizer jab safe for child consumption with high efficacy and safety.
Authorities didn’t cite a select reason for the move, but it will prevent younger people from carrying the disease to Italy’s ageing population.
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Other countries now giving children the Covid vaccine include:
- The UAE
- The US
- The Philippines
The US is currently furthest along, having now vaccinated 30 percent of 12 to 15-year-old children.
Malta has also created new rules for under-18 vaccinations, but not for its own residents.
Children aged between 12 and 16 can’t embark on a holiday to the island nation without a jab first.
Officials updated their entry requirements in the wake of the UK Government’s decision to add it to the green travel list.
The Government’s decision should, in practice, allow friction-free travel between the UK and Malta.
But the latest requirement will put a dampener on some people’s holiday plans.
As the UK’s programme does not currently cover under 18s, these rules will prevent some families from entering the country.
Children under five may go as they are, while everyone else needs a “vaccine certificate”.
Under fives will need a vaccinated parent or legal guardian, however.
They will also need a “negative nasopharyngeal PCR test” carried out 72 hours before their arrival.
Maltese officials only accept two versions of the vaccine passport at present.
People can enter with either the UK’s two-dose certificate or the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
The EU certificate is available across all member states from July 1.
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