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Britain will extend vaccination to 16- and 17-year-olds.

Britain will extend vaccination to 16- and 17-year-olds.
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Britain will extend vaccination to 16- and 17-year-olds.

Britain will extend vaccination to 16- and 17-year-olds.

Britain is expanding its vaccination campaign to include 16 and 17-year-olds with no underlying health problems on the advice of the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization, an independent body responsible for advising its health services.

At a press conference in London on Wednesday, Jonathan Van-Tam, Britain’s deputy chief medical officer, said the campaign would start in “a very short number of weeks,” but he did not specify. dated. He said officials “would proceed as quickly as possible in practice.”

Based on previous advice from the joint committee, the vaccine has been made available to children 12 to 17 years of age with underlying health conditions and an increased risk of serious infection, or those living with an immunocompromised person.

Across England, 244,223 people under the age of 18 had received a first dose as of August 4, according to data from the National Health Service.

In July, the joint committee advised against routine vaccination of children without an underlying condition, citing evidence suggesting that the vaccination would offer “minimal health benefits” for young people who rarely had severe viral symptoms. The committee said it is also awaiting new safety data following extremely rare reports of heart muscle inflammation with the use of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in younger adults.

According to a member of the joint committee, Wei Shen Lim, the new guidelines balanced “the potential benefits and harms” for young people, including the frequency and severity of side effects, and the impact of so-called long. Covid which only affected a “small proportion” of young people and children.

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Clinical trials have also indicated that the vaccine is as safe for adolescents as it is for adults, said June Raine, chief executive of the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one currently authorized in Britain for children 12 years of age and older, following a clinical trial in the United States that included approximately 1,000 children aged 12 to 15 years. He found that the side effects in this group were short term and mild. moderate.

The move to include adolescents follows steps already taken by the United States, which launched its first campaign to immunize children ages 12 to 15 in May. Young people 16 and older became eligible for vaccination in most states in April.

The joint committee has yet to recommend vaccinating under-16s, although it is reviewing the latest data.

“It’s time to go very patient and careful and it’s time to go up to the speed of science,” Professor Van-Tam said.

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