COVID-19 jabs for over 12s will limit school disruption, councillor says

David Lee

The decision to roll out the coronavirus vaccination programme to children aged 12 to 15 will help limit disruption at schools, says the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for health.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced all children in the age group will be offered one Pfizer jab as soon as possible.

Vaccinations had previously been available for children over 12 with underlying health conditions.

The JCVI said while the individual health benefits from COVID-19 vaccination for 12 to 15 year-olds are small, it still considers them marginally greater than the potential known harms.

Councillor Stuart Carroll, whose professional background is in epidemiology, said: “The JCVI has taken its time because when you’re vaccinating younger people the risk-benefit becomes much more marginal.

“In the case of 12-15 year olds it’s been a chief medical officers’ (CMO) decision to say we think this is right because we don’t want people to miss school, miss education and miss being in their national social environment.”

He added: “As we proceed through the autumn and winter months this is going to be a challenge managing education and that is of course why the CMO has recommended the position to say it is worthwhile offering the vaccine to 12 to 15 year old’s because that will help to limit disruption in the school education setting.”

Cllr Carroll repeated the call for those eligible to come forward and get their booster coronavirus injection when offered as well as the influenza vaccine ahead of the winter months.

He said preventative measures such as hand-washing and mask-wearing in crowded spaces will continue to be important.

When asked by the Express whether he expects councillors to wear masks during busy future council meetings he said it will be a matter of personal choice.

“It’s highly possible that some people will feel more comfortable being in a crowded environment or a close-knit environment to wear a face mask,” Cllr Carroll said.

“People need to make that judgement for themselves and what is absolutely critical when people attend meetings is they are up to date with their vaccinations and we all keep testing.”

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