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Covid Vaccine Approved For Children From 5 In UK

The Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19 has been approved for use in children from the age of 5.

 This announcement came from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Children from the age of 5 can now be given a new 'age-appropriate formulation' of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after the MHRA conducted clinical trials, concluding that it will be effective and safe to do so.

The age-appropriate formulation of the vaccine will be specifically designed for 5 to 11 year olds and it will be given at a lower dose compared to the vaccine dose given to those aged 12 and above. The vaccine will be given as two doses, as with the vaccine given to all other age groups.  Parental consent will be needed for five to 11-year-olds to have the Covid-19 vaccine and the guidance states that the location where the jab is given must be 'age appropriate' for them. There is no clarification on this specifically but some parents are speculating that it could eventually be given in schools, much like the annual flu spray program.

Now that the MHRA has made this announcement, the next step is for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise the UK Government on when children in this age group will be offered the vaccine and what gap to leave between doses. Children in the UK aged 12 to 15 were given access to the vaccine in September in the wake of a number of European countries introducing the vaccine to this age group.

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, stated;

'Parents and carers can be reassured that no new vaccine for children would have been approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.

We have concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for 5 to 11-year olds, with no new safety concerns identified. We have carefully considered all the available data and reached the decision that there is robust evidence to support a positive benefit risk for children in this age group.

Our detailed review of all side-effect reports to date has found that the overwhelming majority relate to mild symptoms, such as a sore arm or a flu-like illness. We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved COVID-19 vaccines and this includes children aged 5 to 11 years old.'

In addition, adults are bring strongly encouraged to get their booster jabs in an effort to quell the spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, with pregnant women being moved up to the highest priority group for the vaccination due to data showing that pregnant women and their babies are at particular risk without a vaccination. Read more about this here.

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