CHILDREN could start getting the Covid vaccine from as early as August under provisional government plans, it has been reported.
Sources involved in preparations have said August is the soonest point at which under 18’s would be given the jab – months earlier than expected.
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A child receives a vaccine shot (not for Covid) in the armCredit: Alamy
According to the latest government data, 28,327,873 adults received their first dose of the vaccine up to March 22 while 2,363,684 had been given their second.
The PM hailed the speedy rollout yesterday as he vowed to get all adults jabbed with their first dose of the vaccine by the end of July.
And if the current rate of roughly three million first doses a week is handed out in August, it is possible that most of the 11million schoolkids could be vaccinated before the autumn term, The Telegraph reports.
One source involved in the planning told the paper “it could begin by late summer”, specifically August.
And a government source familiar with the thinking reportedly said August was the “earliest” start.
Israel, the country with the highest proportion of vaccinated citizens, is already giving jabs to 16 and 17-year-olds after deeming it safe.
But final decisions on whether to vaccinate kids in Britain will be made once safety data on the critical child vaccine study being run by Oxford University are released.
The study will test the AstraZeneca vaccine on 300 children aged six to 17, with the conclusions expected in June or July.
Exemptions are expected if a rollout to children is given the final sign-off.
It is also likely that parents would have to give consent – currently the position for teenagers in Israel.
Prof Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics at the Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre and member of the Government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation, said preparations were being made which could allow the rollout of vaccines for children.
He said: “Children constitute close to quarter of the population, so even if we could achieve 100 per cent uptake of vaccines across the adult population, it only gets you to 75 per cent coverage.”
Meanwhile, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said “no decisions have been made on whether children should be offered vaccinations”.
They said: “While clinical trials are under way to test the efficacy and safety of Covid-19 vaccines in children and young adults, these trials have not concluded yet.
“We will be guided by the advice of our experts on these issues, including the independent joint committee on vaccines and immunisation.”