UK approves vaccines for 12-year-olds, aims to avoid blockages – .

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UK approves vaccines for 12-year-olds, aims to avoid blockages – .


LONDON – Britain decided on Monday to follow other countries in offering coronavirus vaccines to children 12 and older, as the government bet that expanded vaccination and small changes in social behavior can prevent the need locking in winter.

Vaccinations for children and booster shots for at-risk adults should be part of a ‘toolbox’ to control COVID-19 infections this fall and winter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce on Tuesday at a press conference.

On Monday, the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recommended that children between the ages of 12 and 15 receive a single dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, although the advisers government vaccine officials said this month that this step would have marginal health benefits.

The government has said it will most likely follow the recommendation.

Other countries – including the United States, Canada, France and Italy – are already offering coronavirus vaccines to children 12 and older, but Britain has resisted. It currently inoculates people 16 years of age and older, and nearly 90% of those eligible have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Earlier this month, the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization said vaccines should be given to children aged 12 to 15 with underlying health conditions. But he did not support a deployment to healthy children, who are at low risk of serious illness from the virus, saying the direct health benefits were marginal.

However, he said there might be broader societal factors to consider, such as education or children acting as sources of transmission to more vulnerable groups.

Chief medical officers of health said on Monday that the vaccination would help limit transmission of the virus in schools and help children’s mental health by reducing disruption to education.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said immunizing children was not “a panacea” but was “an important and potentially useful additional tool” in the fight against the virus.

Whitty said it was a finely balanced decision.

“Some decisions are completely obvious,” he told reporters. “If you talk to someone who is 85 years old and they choose not to get the vaccine, the short answer is ‘You just have to get the vaccine, it will have a very high chance of preventing you from dying.’ When in fact in this situation it is more difficult and I think it is therefore appropriate that people took more time to get there and to make sure that we weighed all the different elements for good. do things. “

Children will initially receive a single dose of vaccine in their schools. The UK has yet to decide to give them a second dose.

Johnson’s Conservative government is hoping that widespread vaccinations, rather than restrictions, will help control COVID-19 infections during the colder months, when respiratory viruses spread more easily.

The announcement of a new virus roadmap comes a year after Johnson resisted scientific advice to quarantine the country – only to turn around in weeks as coronavirus cases skyrocketed .

Cases of the virus are now 10 times more numerous than a year ago, but vaccines protect many Britons against serious illness. Yet the UK records more than 100 coronavirus deaths per day and more than 8,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. It’s less than a quarter of the winter peak, but the numbers are increasing.

Johnson is expected to say mask wear, advice on working from home and social distancing rules that were lifted in July could return if cases increase further.

But his Tory government is resisting tougher measures, unexpectedly dropping a plan to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded places.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday that the vaccines, which were introduced in many European countries and were due to start in England at the end of September, were a “huge intrusion into people’s lives”. He said the government would keep the plan “in reserve” but not implement it just yet.

Johnson spokesman Max Blain said the nightclubs had not been linked to “significant cases or hospitalizations” since they reopened in July after more than a year of closure.

“We are not seeing the exponential increases that some were expecting,” he said.

Some experts have argued for vaccine passports as a way to encourage young people to get vaccinated, although others say compulsory vaccination, rather than encouraging it, could increase hesitation. The measure was challenged as a heavy tax by many in the entertainment industry and met political resistance on the grounds of civil liberties from some conservative lawmakers and opposition Liberal Democrats.

The government’s decision on the vaccination passport applies in England. Scotland, which sets its own health policy, plans to introduce the crowded place requirement next month.

Johnson is also likely to announce on Tuesday that the government will relinquish some of the emergency powers Parliament granted him after the pandemic began last year, including the power to shut down businesses and schools, restrict gatherings and detain infectious people.

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