Under 18 Covid vaccine: will UK children and teenagers be offered coronavirus jab? Latest advice explained

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said a limited number of young people will be offered the vaccine before they turn 18

All 17-year-olds within three months of their 18th birthday will be offered a Covid vaccine, a Government minister has confirmed.

Nadhim Zahawi told the Commons that younger children with “severe neuro-disabilities” and those living in homes with immunosuppressed relatives would also be offered a vaccine.

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The Pfizer vaccine will be offered to all children and young people eligible for a Covid jab.

Vulnerable young people could be vaccinated against Covid-19, an announcement is expected on 19 July from the UK's vaccines minister (Picture: Getty Images)

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Will under 18s be vaccinated against Covid?

Mr Zahawi said: “(The JCVI) recommends expanding the offer of the vaccine to some younger children with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of Covid-19. This includes children aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down syndrome, immunosuppression and profound or multiple learning disabilities.

“The JCVI advice also recommends offering a vaccine to children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with someone who is immunosuppressed. This means we can indirectly protect the immunosuppressed who are at higher risk of serious disease from Covid-19 and may not generate a full immune response to vaccinations.

“The JCVI advises that we should offer the vaccine to all 17-year-olds who are within three months of their 18th birthday so we can make sure they are protected as soon as they turn 18.”

Why are children not being given the vaccine yet?

At present, the Covid vaccine is not generally being offered to young people below 18 years old.

However, 16 to 18-year-olds can be offered a Pfizer jab if they are in a priority group, or live with someone who has a weakened immune system.

The next age group being considered are 12-17 year old, with those within three months of their 18th birthday being considered as the next in line.

What happens next?

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told the Commons: “Together with health ministers in all parts of the United Kingdom, the secretary of state has accepted this advice and asked the NHS to put it into action as soon as possible.

“As we do this we will be using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is the only vaccine in the UK that has been clinically authorised for people between the ages of 12 and 17.

“I know that people will have questions about what it means for them and their children, but I can assure them that nobody needs to come forward at this stage. The NHS will get in touch with them at the right time and they will make sure that the jabs are delivered in a setting that meets their complex needs.”