England’s Chief Medical Officer also stressed senior doctors were not saying 12-15 year olds “must” get the jab, but there were benefits to them doing so.
Professor Chris Whitty has said Covid vaccines for children under 12 years old are “a long way from being thought about”.
England’s Chief Medical Officer understands that some nations are currently rolling out vaccines for children under 12 but it is not yet being considered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The MHRA approve all Covid vaccines before they are rolled out to the public.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on whether under 12s will get the vaccine soon, Professor Whitty said: “We currently have no plans at the moment to reexamine this.
“There are some nations that are doing this. But it hasn’t even got to the point where this is being considered by the MHRA.
“So let’s not rush that one at all.”
Professor Whitty warned Covid is not over and said “anybody who believes the big risk of Covid is all in the past… has not understood where we are going to head as go into autumn and winter, where there will continue to be challenges and pressure on the NHS”.
He stressed that giving 12-15 year olds a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine (which is what has been recommended) will not affect the rollout of the Covid booster vaccination programme.
Professor Whitty said: “We have plenty of vaccine stock for these and they’re being deployed by different mechanisms. One is through a school mechanism and one is more widely. So I do not think that we’re concerned about that.”
But confident giving 12-15 year olds the jab will minimise education disruption he said it will “reduce the number of outbreaks in schools which has a direct effect on children” and it will reduce the chance of a child getting covid “by about 55%”.
Just 10 days ago the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not recommend the jab for children of this age group.
Stressing it is still safe, Professor Whitty said: “Our view, which is a view of the great majority of doctors and public health professionals, is that these two are not in conflict.
“What JCVI has said is there is a marginal advantage but by their assessment that was not sufficient by their ordinary standards to recommend it, and quite appropriately they’ve kept to their independent view.”
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And Professor Wei Shen Lim, of the JCVI, added: “I want to stress that this by no means there is any conflict between the advice provided by JCVI and the advice and the decision made by the CMOs to the Secretary of State.”
Shadow education secretary Kate Green welcomes the advice.
Ms Green said: “We welcome that vaccines for teenagers have received the green light from the UK’s chief medical officers.
“The challenge now for the Government is to get jabs out to kids as quickly as possible to prevent further avoidable disruption to their education.”