Just a few days after Indian authorities granted approval for a Covid vaccine for children above the age of 12, the United Kingdom has now decided to hold the approval for inoculating children between the age of 12 and 15. The UK advisory group revealed that Covid vaccination will offer only marginal benefits for children under this age group, and they made it clear that this age group is at low risk of getting the infection. Moreover, the health benefits of the vaccines when weighed against possible side effects were not entirely clear.
Possibility of side effects
Before making this decision, the UK advisory group had apparently sought advice from top medical experts in the country. The decision has been made after concerns were raised over a rare side effect of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which is heart inflammation.
Heart inflammation could later result in chest pain and palpitation, and these complications may turn serious for certain people. Data from the United States indicate that there are 60 cases of children suffering from this Covid vaccine side effect for every million-second dose given to 12 to 17-year-old boys. When it comes to girls, this figure is eight in one million.
Lack of evidence behind UK's decision
The United States has already started vaccinating children in this age group. Other countries that have already started vaccinating children above the age of 12 are France, Italy, UK, Israel, and Ireland.
However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the independent vaccine advisory group has decided not to give approval for vaccination in the UK citing a lack of evidence that substantiates the benefit of shots among children. The committee will continue reviewing safety data as and when it emerges, and will take a final call on whether to vaccinate children in this age group.