Young children will be offered a low-dose COVID-19 syringe
Young children will be offered a low-dose COVID-19 syringe

Young children will be offered a low-dose COVID-19 syringe

British authorities will offer a coronavirus vaccine to nearly 6 million children aged 5 to 11, officials said Wednesday.

The government said young children would be offered a low-dose COVID-19 shot on a “non-urgent” basis from April in the UK. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also announced similar measures.

“Parents can, if they wish, accept the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of COVID-19 when we learn to live with this virus,” said Health Minister Sajid Javid.

The government’s independent advisory vaccine committee said that although the virus does not pose a threat to most children, a very small number infected will develop serious illness.

About 85% of the UK’s aged 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, but the country has lagged behind the US and European countries such as France, Germany and Italy in terms of vaccinating younger children.

Currently, children under the age of 11 are only eligible for a vaccine if they have medical conditions that put them at serious risk of coronavirus complications.

Authorities said Wednesday that young children will be offered two doses of 10 micrograms of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses.

New coronavirus infections have declined in many parts of the UK, although the number of cases by age group remained the highest among school children. The official statistics bureau reported on Wednesday that about 1 in 13 or 7.6% of children ages 2 to 11 had probably had COVID-19 in the past week.

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is expected to outline his government’s long-term strategy for “living with COVID” on 21 February.

Johnson said last week that all remaining domestic restrictions in the UK, including the legal requirement for infected individuals to isolate themselves, could be lifted within a few weeks.

England has already scrapped most restrictive measures, such as mandatory face masks and vaccine passes for access to nightclubs and major events. Northern Ireland has lifted all legal restrictions.

Scotland has taken a more cautious approach. Facial clothing is still required in indoor public spaces, and nightclubs are checking vaccine passes.

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