Covid-19 jabs now deemed safe for many NI children aged 12 and over

  • The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be offered (with parental consent) to some young people in Northern Ireland aged 12 and over with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious Covid-19.

    Following approval by MHRA for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be used in those aged 12 and over, the JCVI has now updated its advice to enable 12 to 15 year olds with specific underlying health conditions to receive vaccination.

    This currently includes those with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register.

    Additionally, children and young people aged 12 years and over who live with someone who is immunosuppressed will be offered the opportunity to receive a vaccination, as well as those aged 16 to 17 who are at higher risk of serious Covid,

    Jabs will also be offered to those young people who are within three months of their 18th birthday.

    Health Minister Robin Swann, said: "Our vaccination programme has always been guided by the expert advice. The decision by the medicines regulator to approve the Pfizer vaccine for use in this younger age group has only been taken after rigorous assessment of both safety and effectiveness."

    RELATED: Covid vaccine for under 18s is 'welcome news' to NI Health Minister

    The Health Minister also warned that the current vaccine programme with not be made available to the public indefinitely, thus warning people to get their jabs now while they still can, saying “Don’t be left behind – don’t miss out.”

    “The vaccination programme has been a huge logistical operation,” he said. “We set it up with the aim of offering all adults their first jab by July and this has been achieved.

    “The right time to get your vaccine is right now. A new surge in Covid cases is underway and getting your jab will protect you and others. It will also help our health service cope, by pushing down infection numbers and hospital admissions.

    “Getting your jab will never be easier or more accessible than it is right now. All our regional vaccination centres are offering walk-in jabs without the need for appointment. And mobile vaccination teams are visiting local towns to provide walk-in clinics.

    “In the coming weeks, we will inevitably have to stand down aspects of the current programme. We will maintain some provision for people who belatedly change their minds and decide they want a jab after all. But it won’t be as convenient or as widely accessible as it is currently.

    RELATED: NI feeling 'more confident' thanks to Covid vaccine rollout

    “We will have to start standing down the mass vaccination centres in August, with first doses there ending on 31st July. This will allow us to redeploy much-needed staff back into the health service. Also, the SSE Arena and the leisure centres that we’ve been using can’t be commandeered for vaccination use forever.

    “Our GPs, meanwhile, are under intense pressure given the current levels of demand for care.

    “Their vital role in the vaccination programme has shifted from first and second doses to preparing for the vaccine booster dose and the flu vaccine programme after the summer.

    “Pharmacists will continue to play an essential role – including offering Moderna first and second doses from the end of July.

    “However, the logistical requirements of Moderna mean the number of participating pharmacies will be more limited.”

    More details on booking a vaccination appointment for younger people will be made available soon. 

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story