The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced last Friday (3rd September) that it does not recommend universal COVID-19 vaccination for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds ‘at this time’.

According to the JCVI, although the health benefits from COVID-19 vaccinations are marginally greater than the potential known harms, this margin of benefit is ‘too small’ to recommend vaccinations for this age group currently.

The JCVI added that considering the wider societal impacts of vaccination – including educational benefits – are outside its remit.

As such, the JCVI said the government may wish to seek further input on the wider impacts of vaccination in this age group from the UK’s chief medical officer.

The Department of Health and Social Care has since announced that the four chief medical officers will provide further advice on the vaccination of 12 to -15-year-olds.

The UK’s chief medical officer will launch the process of assessing the wider impact of universal COVID-19 vaccination in this population.

“People aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to the virus have already been offered a COVID-19 vaccine, and today we’ll be expanding the offer to those with conditions such as sickle cell disease or type 1 diabetes to protect even more vulnerable children,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.

“Along with Health Ministers across the four nations, I have today written to the Chief Medical Officers to ask that they consider the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds from a broader perspective, as suggested by the JCVI. We will then consider the advice from the Chief Medical Officers, building on the advice from the JCVI, before making a decision shortly,” he added.