Britain says most children will not be given COVID jabs

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By Reuters Staff

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it has decided against giving mass COVID-19 vaccinations to all children and they would only be offered in certain situations such as when young people have underlying health conditions.

Compared with adults, children are much less likely to develop severe illness following infection with the coronavirus. But the majority of British parents in a survey this month said they favoured giving their children a vaccine if offered it.

Children with severe neurodisabilities, Down's Syndrome, immunosuppression and profound and multiple learning disabilities will be eligible for the vaccine in new guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

"We will be offering even more vulnerable people the protection that a vaccine brings and we will all be safer as a result," vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi told parliament.

The government said fewer than 30 children with the virus died in the United Kingdom up to March this year.

Young people within three months of their 18th birthday will also be part of the vaccination programme "to allow a lead-in time", said Anthony Harnden, Deputy Chair of the JCVI.

Britain's decision is at odds with those taken in countries such as the United States where children over the age of 12 are being vaccinated.

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