England to Offer COVID-19 Vaccine to Five- to 11-Year-Olds

England will offer a low-dose COVID-19 vaccine to children aged five to 11, the government announced on Feb. 16.

United Kingdom Health Secretary Sajid said the vaccine rollout for the age group, which he called “non-urgent,” is scheduled to begin in April in pharmacies and vaccination centers.

The age group would be administered two 10-microgram doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with at least 12 weeks between each dose.

Children in the age group who have other medical conditions that put them at greater risk are already eligible for the vaccine.

The announcement, which followed recommendation from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), emphasized that parents would be expected to make their own decision.

“The main purpose of offering vaccination to five- to 11-year-olds is to increase their protection against severe illness in advance of a potential future wave of COVID-19,” JCVI COVID-19 Immunization Chair Professor Wei Shen Lim said.

The government also said that the COVID-19 vaccination should not displace other important childhood vaccinations that have fallen behind amid the pandemic, such as the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland has recently also offered the vaccine to the same age group.

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