Further guidance on whether younger teens should routinely be offered the Covid vaccine could be published within days, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The four chief medical officers for the nations of the UK were asked to consider the issue after experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) last week rejected routine vaccinations for those aged 12 to 15.
The Scottish First Minister, updating Holyrood on the coronavirus crisis, said that it was expected the leading medics would reveal their advice “soon”.
And she said the Scottish Government “stands ready to act in accordance with any recommendations we receive”.
In her update, Ms Sturgeon said that while the JCVI had concluded that the health benefits of vaccinated 12 to 15-year-olds did “marginally outweigh any risks” it opted not to recommend jags for this age group because children are considered to be at a lower risk of becoming seriously unwell with Covid.
She added, however, that the JCVI had “acknowledged that it would be appropriate for Governments, in coming to a policy decision, to consider any wider benefits of vaccination – for example, reducing disruption to education.”
With the four chief medical officers having been tasked with carrying out a “rapid assessment” on the wider benefits of vaccination, Ms Sturgeon stated: “We expect to receive this advice soon – I hope within days.”
With the JCVI having last week recommended those with certain conditions which affect their immune system be offered a third booster vaccine, the First Minister said these would given “over the next few weeks”.
The Scottish Government will “shortly” provide further information to people in this category, Ms Sturgeon added.
Meanwhile, she said ministers were still waiting for advice from the JCVI on a “more general booster programme” ahead of the winter.
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