UK lags behind in failing to jabs for children under 16 as France and Belgium advance – .

UK lags behind in failing to jabs for children under 16 as France and Belgium advance – .

The UK increasingly looks like an outlier in Europe with its decision not to expand vaccine rollout to under-16s.
The European Medicines Agency approved the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds in May and Moderna’s vaccine in late July.

Italy, Belgium and France quickly started to vaccinate their young.

France has now distributed one or more doses of the vaccine to around 50% of children aged 12 to 17.

Last Tuesday, Portugal extended the rollout of its vaccine to children over 12, and Germany is expected to follow suit from next month.

England has had one of the highest Covid-19 rates in Europe among those under 15 in recent weeks, even though it has fallen sharply since schools were closed for the summer holidays at the end of July.

The rollout of the Covid vaccine in the UK was recently extended to all 16 and 17 year olds, with the aim of offering everyone in the age group a first jab by August 23.

According to previous guidelines, the only people under 18 who could receive the vaccine were people with certain health conditions or anyone living with an immunocompromised person.

England has so far vaccinated just 2.2% of those under 18.

France has successfully vaccinated around 17% of its population under the age of 18.

Even though Covid-19 cases are increasing among young French people, his government has stepped up its vaccination campaign among younger age groups.

President Emmanuel Macron has taken a proactive approach to the rollout, sharing videos on TikTok and Instagram encouraging young people to get the jab.

Few countries in Europe have managed their youth deployment better than France.

Among the European countries which report data on vaccines administered to under-18s, only Belgium has vaccinated a larger proportion of its population of young people.

This does not reflect the true scale of the deployment in France, as the Belgian population under 18 is around six times smaller than that of France.

Countries that have successfully deployed the vaccine to their under-18s can be classified into one of two groups.

Some countries, like Belgium and Malta, have very small populations, which means that expanding vaccine deployment has been relatively easy.

Other countries, like Italy and France, have stepped up their deployments by instituting vaccine passports that restrict where people can go without showing proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test.

The French pass is one of the strictest of all European countries, prohibiting access to restaurants, bars and other places of entertainment without any proof.

That of Italy is a little less strict and was instituted without the public backlash observed in France.

The UK is planning its own version of the vaccine passport rules, with Boris Johnson previously saying nightclubs will only admit fully vaccinated revelers from September.

In Eastern Europe, many countries have struggled to expand the vaccine to people under 50 and have made little progress in younger age groups. Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania only managed to administer doses of the vaccine to around 40% of their population under 50, well below the rate of wealthier European countries.

Bulgaria lags further behind, with only ten percent of its population under 50 having received a dose of the vaccine.


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