Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said it is 'far too early to say' whether the UK will follow the US in vaccinating five to 11-year-olds

Professor Jeremy Brown, a member the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), stated that it was ‘far too early for us to know’ if the UK will follow the US example of vaccinating children aged five to eleven years olds.

One of No10’s vaccine advisors warned today that the UK is not ready to follow the US lead in jibbing five-year olds. 

Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation(JCVI), argued for doses being given to infants at high risk.

However, he stated that Britain’s medical regulator has yet to look at data from the US in order to determine whether the jab could be approved for younger people. 

The controversial plans to vaccine children aged five to 11 years old were approved by US health officials last night. 

The move has already prompted doctors to ask for Britain to follow suit to limit infection among this age group.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief physician officer, said that plans were still in the works. 

The CDC approved Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid vaccine for children aged five to 11 yesterday. Pictured: a 10-year-old boy receiving the jab yesterday at Hartford Hospital in Hartford in Connecticut

Yesterday, the CDC approved Pfizer BioNTech’s Covid vaccine in children aged 5-11 years. Pictured: A 10-year-old boy received the jab yesterday at Hartford Hospital, Hartford in Connecticut

England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said today that expanding the rollout to under-12s in the UK is 'some way down the tracks'

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief physician officer, said today that the UK’s expansion of the rollout to children under 12 years old is’someway down the tracks’.

After months of debate over the finely balanced benefit/risk ratio, Britain has limited its vaccine program to healthy over-12s. 

The JCVI advised against the Government’s move, as children are at risk from Covid.

Pfizer’s Covid vaccines may be available for children aged 5-11 in the US as soon as TOMORROW

Pfizer BioNTech’s Covid vaccine for children ages five to 11 has been officially recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, (ACIP), unanimously voted that paediatric doses should be distributed in this younger age bracket.

It is less than a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approved the shots for children.

ACIP was not able to recommend doses of vaccines for children before the FDA announced its decision. This is a necessary step before pediatricians or pharmacists can immunize children.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, is not required to follow the advisory group’s recommendations. However, ACIP rarely directs the agency against its guidance. She is expected to sign off tonight on the recommendations.

This means that 28 million children will be able get vaccinated by Wednesday.

Because children are rarely seriously ill, parents have split the cost of vaccinating their children 50/50.

A member of FDA advisory panel abstained last week from voting on whether to recommend the shot for children because he did not believe that all children should be given the shot. 

The group also warned of the danger from a rare side effect of vaccines called myocarditis. This can cause heart damage. 

Critics argue that children are better off not getting the virus and getting natural protection than being admitted to ICU. The risk of getting sick is one in 500,000.

But the panel — who only looked at a rigid set of criteria — recommended the UK’s chief medical officers were given the final say.

Professor Chris Whitty and his colleagues decided to recommend jabs for 12-15-year-olds, because it was proven to be effective in preventing thousands of students from missing school. 

Professor Brown was asked if the UK should follow the lead of the US on BBC Radio 4’s Today program. He said that it was too early to comment. 

“At the moment, the vaccine is not permitted to be given to children younger than 12 years in this country.

“And the MHRA (the regulatory authorities) have not yet looked at the data from the US to see if it can be approved. 

Professor Brown, an expert in the field of respiratory medicine from University College London added that ‘I believe there’s a case that vaccines can be used on children with underlying diseases that make them more susceptible to Covid and to having severe side effects from the Covid infection. So it’s possible.

He said that the body had decided not to recommend Covid jabs for healthy 12-15-year olds because of the mild effects of Covid infection in this age group.

Professor Brown stated, “Very few healthy teenagers.” [were]Having severe problems will make you more likely to have them. This is probably truer for those under 11s.

“So, the clinical indication for vaccine is low. 

“In fact the vaccine is being used mainly in order to protect people in education, so they don’t have to take time off from school or all that disruption that has been caused by Covid infection.

He said: “If we’re looking at the future, and where we need vaccinate 11s to their educational benefit, it really comes down to how prevalent the infection at that time. 

“It could be that we’re experiencing a large peak in infection at the moment, but by the time the vaccine is approved for under-12s it may be that the infection rates among the community and children are very low. 

“And so the need to protect them from the disruption effect of Covid infected on their education becomes less important.”

There are encouraging signs that the natural immunity of British children is already slowing down the spread of the disease.

According to data from the UK Health Security Agency, cases dropped 13.5 percent among 10- to 19-year olds in the week prior to half term. 

Professor Brown was asked if he agreed that high rates of infection among pupils have led to some degree of herd immunity, causing infections to drop. He said it was ‘a bit of a hard thing to predict how things will panout in the future’.

He said that experts hoped the latest wave of infected children, combined with high immunity, would ‘be high enough to limit future big waves, such as what we’re currently seeing’.

Because of the low risk of severe illness, more than one-third of American parents with children in the 5-11 age range are not planning to get their kids vaccinated against Covid, a survey found

A survey revealed that more than one third of American parents who have children aged 5-11 are not planning on getting their kids vaccinated against Covid because of the low risk of serious illness.

Pfizer released data last week showing its vaccine is 91% effective against infections in five to 11-year-olds after 16 cases of Covid were reported in the placebo group compared to three in the the group that received two kid-size doses

Pfizer released data last Wednesday showing that its vaccine is 91% effective against infections among five- to eleven-year-olds. 16 cases of Covid were reported by the placebo group, compared to three for the group that received two doses in kid-sized.

Meanwhile, Professor Van-Tam told BBC Breakfast the US ‘are in a different position to us’ because they had already licensed the Pfizer vaccine in five to 11-year-olds. 

He stated that he would anticipate, but didn’t know, that Pfizer might file in Europe or the UK within the next few months.

“But that’s no matter that I can influence in anyway, it’s up for the manufacturers. 

“Then at that time, if it were to be the case, that the vaccine became licensable in five- to eleven-year-olds (or more), there would need to have been a JCVI consideration. 

“But that decision is still some way down the tracks, and the biggest priority is the people who require boosters, the partially vaccinated or unvaccinated adults. The JCVI will make that happen in due time.

Professor Van-Tam stated that he is certain the JCVI will be considering whether to follow the US.

He said that they must first monitor the effects of the booster campaign to decide if any other Britons should be eligible.        

It comes after yesterday’s approval by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention of using Pfizer vaccine to immunise children five- to eleven years old.

It was unanimously approved by the members of its advisory panel 14-0. 

Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, then approved the vote. This means that approximately 28 million children in America are now eligible to receive the shots.

Advisers believed that the jabs had a similar effect on young children as it did in 16- to 25-year olds.