It is recognised that a small number of children and young people aged 12-17 years with specific underlying health conditions may be at risk of COVID-19 and should be offered a COVID vaccine.
Government advisors are currently reviewing the evidence which the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will further consider. At the current time, the JCVI specifies that “children 12 to 15 years of age with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and those with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register are considered at increased risk for serious COVID-19 disease and should be offered COVID-19 vaccination”. Please read the JCVI report for further information.
From a practical perspective, it is anticipated that children who are eligible for vaccination under these criteria will be contacted by NHS England or Public Health England in late August 2021 to invite them to have the vaccination. The metabolic specialist centres are following guidance from NHS England, Public Health England, and the RCPCH. Children with metabolic disorders who meet these criteria due to the effect of their illness or their treatment will be eligible. There may be a further roll-out of vaccination to a wider group of children aged 12 and over at a later point.
Our friends at Genetic Alliance UK have shared a video where Dr Liz Whittaker, infectious disease lead at RCPCH and Senior Clinical Lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Imperial College London, spoke about clinically extremely vulnerable children and COVID-19 vaccines. You can watch the video here.