Live news: Pfizer’s Covid-19 pill authorised by US FDA
Only vulnerable five- to 11-year-olds will be eligible for the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine in the UK, following input from government advisers, even as the regulator approved the shot for all children in that age group.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on Wednesday approved the jab to be used in smaller doses for the cohort. The doses will be a third of the size of jabs for people aged 12 and over.
But the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the UK’s vaccine advisory group, opted to roll out the jab only to vulnerable children and those with vulnerable relatives in their household for the time being.
Separately, the JCVI said booster shots could be given to healthy 16- and 17-year-olds, alongside children aged 12 to 15 with weakened immune systems or those with living vulnerable people. They would become eligible for their third dose three months after the second, the committee added.
The JCVI said two shots, administered eight weeks apart, would be offered to five- to 11-year-olds “in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed”.
A person close to the committee said a decision on a wider rollout of all 5- to 11-year-olds “would be for next year”.
Meanwhile, a former UK prime minister has criticised those who refuse the vaccine against Covid-19, despite having no health reason, as “idiots”.
“If you’re not vaccinated at the moment and you’re eligible and you’ve got no health reason for not being vaccinated, you’re just not irresponsible. I mean you’re an idiot,” Tony Blair told Times Radio. “I’m sorry, I mean, truthfully, you are.”
Blair said the government should seek to persuade vaccine-hesitant people rather than going after them in a “heavy-handed” way.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has ruled out introducing rules before Christmas Day but is under pressure from his medical advisers to tighten restrictions thereafter.