COVID-19 vaccinations for young children now expected to start later this month
The government is hoping to ensure children’s lives are not disrupted by the virus when three vaccines are added to the schedule that was announced on Monday.
All three have been granted licences from the Ministry of Health for emergency use in order to relieve the pressure on the NHS.
The first two are for the NHS, one for children from nine months to five years old, as well as those who are at high risk of complications including cancer or haemophilia and another for a new disease called ‘lung flu’ which causes difficulty breathing and pneumonia.
And the third dose, being added to the schedule on Thursday, is being given to anyone who has travelled or been in contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19. It will be the only vaccine available to those without insurance because many would otherwise not be able to afford the price.
The vaccine was originally expected to be available to children aged three, but the government has now extended the age because of the “serious side effects that may affect children who receive the injection”.
The news comes after the government announced a 10-week waiting period for medical and dental procedures during which “the NHS could not be at risk of any disruption”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been in daily talks with the health department and NHS trusts and has been in regular contact with key health service organisations.
The government has also now granted the vaccine emergency use in certain parts of Wales for people who have “experienced symptoms of Covid-19 or have had close contact with people who have”.
In Scotland, where there have been a number of confirmed cases of the disease in the past few days, the government has also granted emergency use to those who have had contact with one of the confirmed cases.
The vaccine is now also being added to the schedule for those at high