The Isle of Man’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is due to follow the recent advice from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the vaccination of those aged 12 – 17.
Previously, the JCVI and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) have advised vaccination of all adults aged 18 years and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or those with underlying health conditions aged between 16 and 17. The Island’s vaccination programme has been highly successful with both doses now administered to 80% of the adult population.
Reviews have been undertaken in the UK looking at the potential risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine for children and younger people.
The updated advice concluded that children and young people aged 12-17 should be offered the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine if they fall into the following criteria:
- Individuals aged 12 – 15 with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (those with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression and those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities and those who are on the learning disability register);
- Individuals aged 12 – 17 who are share a household with an immunosuppressed person (either adults or children)
Additionally, 17 year olds who are within the three months mark of turning 18 are also eligible to be vaccinated.
Planning for the extension of the vaccination programme is currently underway and more information on the rollout will be provided once the relevant documentation has been received from the UK Government. Anyone who falls into these categories are asked to call 111 to register their interest for the vaccine but are reminded to please not attend the hub yet.
Minister for Health and Social Care, David Ashford MHK, commented: ‘I know a number of people have been concerned around whether the COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to those aged under 18, and if this will cause any harm to this age group. The advice from JCVI is that the benefits for these at risk groups outweighs any risks. As a result they should be offered the vaccination for the increased protection it offers them and their loved ones from becoming seriously ill.’
Young people who are aged 16 and 17 who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 will continue to be offered the vaccine as part of either the clinically extremely vulnerable (PG4), or underlying health conditions (PG6) groups in line with the Phase 1 rollout.
Those who are aged under 18 and aren’t in one of these specified groups are currently not being offered the vaccine and should not attend the vaccination hub.