“It reduces the chance a child will get COVID if they have [the vaccine] probably by about 50 – 55 per cent,” he said.
“And it will reduce the chance that a child who then gets COVID will pass it on [so] we expect it will reduce the number of outbreaks in schools as well as [have] a direct effect on children.
“We definitely do not think this alone is going to be the thing that deals with educational issues.”
Professor Lim Wei Shen from the JCIV said the decision did not conflict with their own advice, which was limited to assessing only the health risks.
“This review is good news for everybody because the wider impacts of vaccinations have been examined,” Lim said.
Regulator MHRA has approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for use in over-12s despite reports of the rare side effects of heart inflammation – or myocarditis.
“These both happen very rarely in the general population,” Dr June Raine from the MHRA said.
“These are mild cases, individuals usually recover within a short period of time with standard treatment and our advice remains that the benefits outweigh the risks of getting vaccinated and this includes those aged 12 to 15.”
The British Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health advised the CMOs of their decision and overwhelmingly endorsed their advice.
“Participation in activities inside and outside of school are key to children’s development, resilience, and mental health and wellbeing,” the College said in a statement.
“We need to ensure that such participation returns to normal as a matter of urgency.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government had accepted the advice and that vaccines would begin for minors from next week in England subject to parental consent.
“I have accepted the recommendation from the Chief Medical Officers to expand vaccination to those aged 12 to 15 – protecting young people from catching COVID-19, reducing transmission in schools and keeping pupils in the classroom,” Javid said.
Fiona Sugden from Queensland lives in London with her five children, the eldest of whom, Finn, 12, is currently isolating at home and off school having caught COVID-19 in the past week.
“Will I get Finn vaccinated? Yes, I will without hesitation,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Britain’s vaccination rollout was extended to 16 and 17-year-olds in August and more than 81 per cent of the population aged 16 and above have received both jabs. More than half of 16 and 17 year-olds have already had their first injection.
England has been living without any restrictions and without masks except on the Underground since late July.
Data compiled by Public Health England says between 40 to 70 per cent of young people have already been infected with COVID-19.
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