Vaccine: Costello claims UK doesn’t have enough jabs for children
And Professor Anthony Costello has also issued a warning about the risk so-called long Covid poses to youngsters. The NHS is preparing to roll out the vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds with underlying health conditions and those living with vulnerable adults.
Youngsters are expected to be offered the Pfizer jab, which was approved for use in children in that age group by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency last month following a “rigorous review”.
The Moderna vaccine is not currently recommended for use in children – but the EU is likely to decide on whether to grant approval next week.
AstraZeneca’s jab, which is widely used in the UK, is not currently recommended for use on children under the age of 18.
Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for Covid, and AstraZeneca’s jab
Professor Anthony Costello during Friday’s briefing
Speaking during Friday’s briefing by Independent SAGE, Prof Costello, the former Professor of International Child Health and Director of the Institute for Global Health at the University College London, said: “The child vaccination story is interesting.
“Because although they’re delaying and saying they’re not sure and it’s not really that big a problem, I actually think the real reason is that they don’t have adequate supplies at Pfizer and Moderna.
“And I think we have a supply issue at the moment which is why they’re not giving approval for younger children.”
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Sajid Javid speaking in the Commons on Monday
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Speaking at a time of rising concern about the potential impact of the so-called Beta variant which scientists fear may be immune to existing vaccines, Prof Costello also voiced his concerns at any potential herd immunity approach which the Government might adopt which would involve allowing the disease to “rip through the population”.
Prof Costello, who was also director of maternal, child and adolescent health at the World Health Organisation between 2015 and 2018, warned: “If you look at long Covid, we know that of children in the secondary school age group, about 14 percent, or about one in eight almost, of children will have long Covid symptoms.
“We don’t know what the long term effects are – long Covid is really nasty, you get all kinds of symptoms, it can go for on a long period.”
Those under the age of 18 are not currently being vaccinated in the UK
AstraZeneca’s jab was developed in conjunction with Oxford University
Speaking a day before it was confirmed Health Secretary Sajid Javid had been tested positive despite having been fully inoculated, Prof Costello added: “Older people who have been double vaccinated, get breakthrough infections.
“I’m one case in point – I got Covid three weeks ago I still have some symptoms, and it was a breakthrough, even though I was double vaccinated.
“And finally, if you have everybody getting an infection, the immunity you get from the infection is about half as good as you get from vaccination.
Covid vaccinations in the UK as of Wednesday
“So, the utilitarian principle would be keep community infections under control, get all people vaccinated, including children down to 12 and then you can you get a much better result in the utilitarian sense.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman told Express.co.uk: “The government will continue to be guided by the advice of the JCVI and no decisions have been made by ministers on whether people aged 12 to 17 should be routinely offered COVID-19 vaccines.”
The independent medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people aged 12 and over as it meets their robust standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
The Government is understood to be confident it has sufficient supplies of vaccinations – but AstraZeneca’s jab, which is widely used in the UK, is not currently recommended for use on children under the age of 18.
Speaking yesterday, Professor Sarah Gilbert, one of the scientists behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine insisted the benefits of vaccinating children were “much lower and poorer” than inoculating adults.
She added: “With still a limited number of doses available to vaccinate the world, we should be use those doses for healthcare workers and for older individuals in countries that don’t yet have a vaccine.”
Express.co.uk understands the UK has made a “risk-benefit” decision on protecting children rather than a calculation taking into account excess supplies which could be shipped abroad for use in adults.
The UK has administered 80 million vaccine doses so far, with more than 87 percent of the population having received at least one jab.
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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed