United Kingdom

16 and 17 year olds will NOT need parental consent to get Covid vaccines, health chiefs reveal

Sixteen and 17-year-olds will not need parental consent to get the Covid vaccine, Health chiefs have revealed. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) today recommended that 1.5million people in the age groups should be vaccinated against Covid 'immediately'. Ministers have accepted this advice, and the NHS is now drawing up plans to offer them first doses as soon as possible.

Officials close to the programme said that if a child is able to understand the risks and benefits of any medical treatment they can give consent without their parents say-so. They added the consent of the child is considered most appropriate, even if the parent disagrees.

Boris Johnson today called on families to listen to the advice from No10's top scientists, saying the committee was 'among the best in the world' and that the country should 'take our lead from them'. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said they were aiming to start rolling out jabs for younger age groups 'as soon as possible'. 

But some experts have called the plans into question, saying there was 'no good reason' to prioritise vaccinating this age group because most are already immune to the virus from previous infection. 

Microbiologist Professor David Livermore told MailOnline today: 'Sixteen to 17-year-olds are at low risk of serious disease and, through exposure, are developing immunity anyway. 

'We do not know if vaccine-induced immunity will prove the longer lasting, and the better contributor to herd immunity. Given this, I can see no good reason to prioritise vaccinating them.'

He added: 'Limited vaccine supplies would be far better used in countries and regions with large vulnerable elderly populations who presently remain unvaccinated —  Australia, much of South East Asia and Latin America, as well as Africa.' 

Other experts have, however, welcomed the move with one SAGE adviser saying there was a 'lot to be said' for jabbing younger people and that he was happy to get his teenage children vaccinated. 

Independent SAGE scientists also welcomed the move, but said it was 'too little, too late' and that the opportunity to fully vaccinate children before the new school term had been missed.

And a scientist behind the REACT-1 study monitoring Covid cases in the country said he would support jabbing younger people, after they found 'a lot of transmission' among secondary school-aged adults.   

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises No10, last month ruled only over-12s with serious underlying health conditions or who live with a vulnerable adult should get jabs. 

The panel, made up of the country's top experts, warned the 'minimal health benefits' did not outweigh the risks to justify vaccinating all children. It adopted a 'precautionary approach' because of a rare link between the jab and a cases of heart conditions called myocarditis and pericarditis.

Officials are keen to push the immunisation drive on to more youngsters in order to prevent an autumn surge in infections when they return to schools in September. 

Professor David Livermore, a microbiologist, said he could see 'no good reason' for prioritising younger age groups in the vaccines roll out. But experimental medicine expert and SAGE adviser Professor Peter Openshaw today said he would be happy to have his teenage children vaccinated

Top graph: Data from June 24 to July 12 (red bars), gathered by Imperial researchers as part of the REACT study, shows that infection rates were highest in five to 24-year-olds. Half of all Covid infections were in this group, despite them making up just 25 per cent of the population. Nine times more children aged 13 to 17 tested positive in the most recent testing window compared to rates from May 20 to June 7 (yellow bars). Bottom graph: Figures also show that infection rates were highest in London, where 0.94 per cent tested positive by July 12, up from just 0.13 per cent in the previous study period

Graph shows the proportion of people in each age group who had received one Covid jab (light blue) and who were fully immunised (dark blue)

What Covid vaccine will 16 and 17 year olds get? Will they get jabs in school? And will they need to show parental consent? 

Health chiefs are now set to recommend all 16 and 17 year olds get jabs, marking a dramatic U-turn.

Just two weeks ago the same expert panel — the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) — advised against doing so.

As plans to vaccinate children in the are due to be unveiled by No10's scientists, MailOnline answers your questions about the roll-out to youngsters.

When will children be vaccinated? 

The Government has not yet given a timeline on when 16 and 17-year-olds can start coming forward for jabs.

But even if the roll-out out to older teenagers begin straight away, there will only be time to give them one dose by the time the school year begins on September 6.

Britain's health chiefs say jabs should be dished out eight weeks apart, in order to give the immune system the biggest boost. 

Will jabs be dished out in schools?

Jabs could be administered in schools, like how the HPV vaccine is rolled out for 12 and 13 year old boys and girls.

But Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to push for them to continue to be given at GP surgeries and NHS hubs. 

One public health official claimed they could be done either in schools, or in existing vaccination centres at certain times. 

What vaccine will youngsters get?

The UK has so far only approved Pfizer's coronavirus jab for use in children over 12.

Moderna's vaccine — which works in a similar way — has not been given the green light for youngsters.

AstraZeneca's injection has been linked to rare blood clots, and health chiefs have already restricted its use to over 40s. Therefore, the British-made vaccine is unlikely to be offered to children.

Over-16s are expected to receive two injections eight weeks apart, mirroring how Pfizer's is given to adults. 

Scientists are currently testing nasal spray forms of the Covid vaccine — a method already used to give out children's flu jabs. But none of the candidates being studied have yet to make it out of trials. 

Which countries have already began vaccinating children? 

Britain is currently the 'outlier', with European countries and the US already giving vaccines to children. 

A quarter of children aged 12 to 15 in the US have received two doses, while a third have received one dose.

France, and Spain, Hungary have already starting giving the jab to over-12s, while 10 per cent of children are already vaccinated in Germany. 

Meanwhile, Canada, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, are expected to start giving youngsters jabs soon.

Israel approved the jabs for over-12s in May and subsequently approved it for 5 to 11-year-olds.  

What jabs are they using?

Pfizer has been the go-to jab for vaccinating children around the world.

But Moderna is seeking permission for its jab to be used for over-12s in the EU, US and Canada.

Last week, Italy approved Modern's jab for use in over-12s.

It comes as: 

Speaking to reporters in Scotland today, Mr Johnson said: 'I think it’s very important that everybody in politics listens first to the clinicians and to the medical experts.

'I would just urge all families thinking about this across the country to listen to the JCVI, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and immunisation.

'They are extremely expert there, they’re amongst the best if not the best in the world, they know what’s safe and I think we should listen to them and take our lead from them.'

Mr Javid said: 'Today’s advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) means more young people aged 16 and over can benefit from Covid vaccines.

'I have accepted their expert recommendations and I have asked the NHS to prepare to vaccinate those eligible as soon as possible.

'The JCVI have not recommended vaccinating under-16s without underlying health conditions but will keep its position under review based on the latest data.'

Officials close to the programme said that under current UK guidance, if a child is able to understand the risks and benefits of any medical treatment then they can legally give consent without their parents' say-so.

The child or young person's consent is considered the most appropriate, they added, even if the parent disagrees.

It is understood officials are also not ruling out vaccines for otherwise healthy 12 to 15-year-olds but want to assess more information before making the recommendation.

The JCVI reassessed their recommendation following the surge of infections in younger people in July, and following receiving more data on the safety of jabs. 

Scientists are divided over the hugely controversial topic of vaccinating children, given their tiny risk of dying or falling seriously ill if they catch Covid.

A group of 18 scientists including two SAGE advisers and Independent SAGE members backed the recommendation to jab children today but said it had come 'too late'. 

Independent SAGE member and University College London scientist Professor Christina Pagel said: 'While it is really good news that 16 and 17-year-olds can now benefit from the protection given by the highly effective vaccine, an opportunity to fully vaccinate students before the start of the next school term has been missed.

'The same decision even a month earlier would have allowed this.'

Queen Mary epidemiologist Dr Deepti Gurdasani also welcomed the plans but said the delay had put more young people at risk of suffering from 'long Covid'. 

Dr Gurdasani said: 'This late change means that many in this age group have been infected over the past weeks, with several developing chronic illness, when they could have been vaccinated.'

They have today submitted a paper to prestigious medical journal The Lancet calling on the JCVI to release its analysis that showed jabs could now be dished out to younger people. 

Experimental medicine expert and SAGE adviser Professor Peter Openshaw also backed the suggested plans to jab 16 and 17-year-olds today.

The Imperial College London expert told BBC Radio 4's World at One he would be 'completely happy' if his own teenage children were jabbed.

Professor Openshaw said: 'It is a very difficult individual decision isn’t it? If it was my own teenage child I would be completely happy about them being vaccinated.

'Obviously we are concerned about the risks and there have been various concerns about things like myocarditis — extremely rare — and the risks of being infected and developing complications, even in people of this age, are considerable.

'I think we just need to balance those different pressures, and my judgment is there is a lot to be said for vaccinating teenagers.'

Myocarditis is the scientific name for inflammation of the heart muscles. There have been suggestions that a string of cases among young adults in Israel and the US could be linked to the Pfizer jab. British regulators list this as a very rare potential side-effect of the Belgian-made jab, but say cases are 'very mild'.

Professor Steven Riley, of Imperial College London and co-author of the React study which has been tracking the outbreak, said that the latest results from the study would 'support' extending the vaccination programme to 16 and 17 year olds. 

He told LBC: 'Our data would support that in that we'd expect there to be a really good knock-on effect from extending the vaccinations for that group.'

The study — based on random swab-testing of tens of thousands of people across England — found a 'lot of transmission' among secondary school-aged children.

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for children aged 12-and-over.

Professor Riley added: 'If that could be prioritised that would also reduce transmission'

'What we should probably think about is September, October, November: how much immunity can we have in order to hopefully keep prevalence going down, or if prevalence does start to go up a little bit for it to be as slowly as possible, so there is justification in extending those vaccinations down.

'But we have to balance against the other needs for the vaccine as well.'

It comes as Universities minister Michelle Donelan this morning refused to confirm whether parental consent would be needed for youngsters to get vaccinated, merely saying advice from the JCVI was 'imminent'.

Asked whether parents would be consulted on whether they wanted their children to receive a vaccine, she told Sky News she would not 'pre-empt' the announcement.

Ms Donelan: 'As a representative of the Government I am waiting for the JCVI update on this which could be today but it is very imminent. As I have already said I am not going to preempt a policy announcement.' 

Scientists including SAGE advisers say plans to vaccinate 16 and 17-year-olds have come 'too late' 

A group of 18 scientists including SAGE advisers today slammed plans to vaccinate 16 and 17-year-olds as coming too late.

They said it would be impossible to get the group fully inoculated before the start of term because of the required eight-week gap between doses.

Top scientists are today preparing to U-turn on their recommendations, to say 16 and 17-year-olds should now be eligible for the vaccine.

And Boris Johnson is understood to be poised to prepare to start dishing out jabs to the younger age group 'immediately', as ministers want to head off a surge in infections before schools return in the Autumn.

But just one dose of the vaccine only slightly slashes the risk of catching the virus, while two doses cut this by around half.

Independent SAGE expert Professor Christina Pagel said: 'While it is really good news that 16 and 17-year-olds can now benefit from the protection given by the highly effective vaccine, an opportunity to fully vaccinate students before the start of the next school term has been missed.

'This same decision even a month earlier would have allowed this.'

Epidemiologist at Queen Mary University Dr Deepti Gurdasani said: 'The decision from the JCVI is welcome, but the delay in this is unacceptable, given the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the MHRA in 16-year-olds in December, and the benefit vs risk has been clear for a while.

'The late change means that many in this age group have been infected over the past weeks, with several developing chronic illness, when they could have been vaccinated.'

They have today submitted a paper to prestigious medical journal The Lancet calling on the JCVI to release its analysis that showed jabs could now be dished out to younger groups. 

Asked why the Government has had a change of heart on moving the roll-out on to children this morning, Ms Donelan said: 'We haven't announced that.'

She added: 'What we're doing is waiting for the JCVI announcement.

'At every stage throughout the pandemic we've adopted their advice on this. 

'They are the experts of course when we're determining the vaccine rollout and we'll await their imminent announcement shortly.

'We are awaiting the feedback from the JCVI and then we will update accordingly, so we haven't actually had a change of heart, there's been no policy announcement.'

Ms Donelan said the advice was expected 'imminently' and denied was based on 'political pressure'. 

Questions are now being raised as to what has prompted the sudden change in advice from the panel, which just two weeks ago said it was 'not currently advising routine vaccination of children'.

Sources close to the JCVI, according to The Times, warned of political attempts to 'bounce' the group into making the decision. 

But other insiders claimed the decision was based on fresh evidence that makes the case for jabbing all over-16s, suggesting the risk of myocarditis among teenagers may be lower than feared.

Ms Donelan insisted the decision was 'not based on political pressure'.

She also claimed the Government was considering 'all options for incentivising' younger people to get the Covid vaccine, with ministers hoping to encourage hesitant youngsters into centres with the promise of cut-price taxis and takeaways. Cash bribes have also not been ruled out.

Schools unions have backed the move, saying anything that reassures young people that they are being treated like adults 'has to be welcomed'. But they insisted schools should have no responsibility for promoting, enforcing or policing inoculation uptake.  

A quarter of children aged 12 to 15 in the US have received two doses, while a third have received one dose.

Other countries, including Israel, Italy, France and Germany are making progress in this age group - and Israel has even approved the vaccine for vulnerable 5 to 11-year-olds. 

Jabs could be administered in schools but Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to push for GP surgeries and NHS hubs to be used.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs yesterday: 'I am hoping, possibly veering towards expecting, updated advice from the JCVI literally in the next day or so.'

Maisie Ayres, aged 18, receives a Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at an NHS Vaccination Clinic at Tottenham Hotspur's stadium in north London last month

Data from the study also revealed that two doses of a vaccine are 49 per cent effective at preventing asymptomatic infection, a marked decline compared to other estimates. But the protection offered by the vaccines rises to 59 per cent against symptomatic cases, researchers said

Positive PCR test samples taken as part of the REACT study closely follow the waves of the pandemic

The graph shows the proportion of positive Covid swabs taken as part of the REACT trial that sequencing identified as the Delta variant

The graph shows the Ct value in infected people aged 18 to 64 who had not been vaccinated (red line) compared to double jabbed Brits (blue line).  Each graph shows that those not protected against Covid had lower Ct levels, which are associated with higher amounts of the virus in their test sample and is usually linked with a more severe infection

Schools should not be responsible for promoting or policing jabs for pupils, union says

Schools should not have any responsibility for promoting, enforcing or policing vaccination of pupils, a union has said.

School leaders' union NAHT said UK policy on jabs for children should be led by clinicians. 

Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, said: 'The debate about whether or not to vaccinate older children has been raging for many weeks. NAHT has always said that UK policy on child vaccination should be led by clinicians.

'To the extent that any such policy is controversial it is clear that schools should not carry any responsibility for vaccination promotion, enforcement or policing.'

He said Covid remains a worry for school leaders, given the large numbers of absences related to the virus last term.

A record 1.13million children in England were out of school for Covid related reasons towards the end of term, recent Government figures showed.

The figures included 994,000 children self-isolating due to a possible contact with a Covid case, 48,000 pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus, and 33,300 with a suspected case.

A further 50,700 pupils were off as a result of school closures due to Covid-related reasons, the Department for Education (DfE) statistics showed.

Mr Whiteman said: 'Regardless of the extent that young people might suffer directly from the virus, the large numbers of pupils absent from school at the end of last term showed that Covid still has the power to affect the quality and continuity of the education they receive.

'That is a continuing worry for school leaders.

'Pupils will return to schools next month, and the Government needs to take every possible step to prevent transmission of the virus amongst people in school communities, no matter their age.

'As ever, it will be a matter of public confidence in whatever these measures are deemed to be, so the Government also has a duty to communicate carefully and clearly in order to avoid any more unnecessary disruption and missed education for pupils.'

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said extending the jabs rollout would reduce disruption to schooling.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: 'Anything that gives the reassurance to young people that they are being treated in the way that the adult population is and that their education won't be disrupted to the extent it has been – that has to be welcomed.

'I'm sure many parents, with their youngsters, will think at last we're starting to give a real sense of priority to young people's education.'

He said generally he thinks 'young people feel they've been let down educationally'.

He added: 'If this is one way we can get rid of that disruption I think we will see a great sense of a lot of young people, not all, but a lot of young people thinking, 'Actually, I'm going to have the vaccine, just like my mum or my dad has'.'

Mr Barton suggested vaccination for younger pupils could also be considered. 

A major government-funded study found that vaccinating all over-12s could 'substantially reduce transmission potential in the autumn when levels of social mixing increase.'

Run by Imperial College London, the React Study found the summer wave had been driven by infections among youngsters aged 12 to 24. It said vaccinating children could have 'knock on benefits across the whole population'.

Because Covid poses little direct risk to children, scientists have been nervous about recommending vaccination if there is even the tiniest risk of negative side effects.

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said in June that safety would always be the paramount factor. But he said policy makers also had to consider the 'wider question around the effects on children's education'.

More than 1.1million children were forced to stay at home in the last week of the summer term because of outbreaks in schools.

Ministers are also concerned that, with some countries demanding proof of vaccination for all over-12s, families could find their travel options limited.

The offer of a Covid jab was extended to all over-18s in mid-June. But, to the frustration of ministers, three million under-30s have yet to take it up.

The React study, which is based on random testing of nearly 100,000 people, found that half of all infections are in those aged five to 24 despite them only making up one in four of the population.

It warned that the rampant spread of the virus in the young means the recent decline in cases could reverse when schools reopen in September.

The study concluded that vaccinating more children could 'substantially reduce transmission' and have 'knock on bene - fits across the whole population'.

Ms Sturgeon added: 'I very much hope that that expectation will prove to be the case. I am hoping, but this is the JCVI's advice, that they will recommend further vaccination of people in the 12 to 18-year-old age group.

'But I'm particularly hopeful that we will see some updated recommendations in relation, as a priority as the first part of this, for 16 and 17-year-olds.'

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: 'With the JCVI apparently about to give the green light to vaccinating 16 year olds, ministers need to ensure plans are in place to roll out this vital next stage of vaccination while ensuring parents have all the facts and information they need.' 

A spokesperson for the department of health and social care (DHSC) said it continues to keep jabs for children under review and will be guided by the JCVI's advice.  

It comes after Ms Sturgeon was yesterday accused of 'clinging on to large parts of people's lives' as she revealed lockdown will officially end next week - but some laws will remain in place indefinitely.

The First Minister confirmed Scotland would exit Level 0, ending social distancing and limits in the size of social gatherings, on August 9.

But she said it was too early to declare freedom from Covid as she confirmed face coverings will still be required by law indoors and large events with capacities of more than 2,000 inside and 5,000 outside will have to gain special permission to take place. 

Schoolchildren will also have to wear mask in lessons and socially distance in schools for six weeks from September.

But in a move that will heap pressure on Boris Johnson amid the English 'pingdemic', self-isolation requirements will be dropped if someone passes a PCR test from Monday, a week before the quarantine requirement ends in England.

Announcing that face coverings would remain mandatory the First Minister said it was 'premature' to suggest the pandemic had been beaten.

She also raised the spectre of some restrictions returning in winter, saying she could not rule it out.

Vaccinator Suzanne Pozzo gives a vaccine to Omar Khalifa in a pop up tent at a drop in clinic outside Stenhousemuir Football Ground after Scotland moved to Level 0 of the country's five-tier coronavirus restrictions system

Britain's daily Covid cases fall to a five-week low: UK records 21,952 positive tests in 12% weekly drop - as deaths jump to 24

Britain's daily Covid cases today fell to a five-week low, with just 21,952 positive tests recorded across the nation.

Department of Health figures show the number of infections is 12 per cent down on last week, as the third wave continues to slow.

Meanwhile, deaths – which lag several weeks behind cases – continued to rise. Another 24 victims were posted today, compared to 14 last Monday.

The most recent data on hospital admissions shows 911 people were admitted last Tuesday, down from 926 seven days earlier. 

Covid cases are lower today than they have been since June 29, according to the official figures released today.

But the number of virus tests conducted also fell to their lowest levels since June 26, suggesting there are cases that have not been picked up. 

Some experts think fewer people are coming forward for Covid tests to avoid isolation.

The figures also signal a slow in the week-on-week drop in infections, with cases dropping by 12 per cent on seven days earlier.

Last Monday, cases had dropped by 37.5 per cent compared to the previous week.

Meanwhile, there were just 24 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid tests were recorded, down from 65 yesterday, but an increase of 71.4 per cent compared to last Monday.

Covid death figures released on Monday often lag, due to a delay in recording deaths over the weekend.

But Scots Tory leader Douglas Ross accused her of 'moving the goalposts' by keeping masks and other measures in place.

'There are some welcome steps in the right direction but these ongoing restrictions will hold Scotland back,' he said.

'We are beyond Level 0, at Level -1 or -2 and still the Government is clinging on to large parts of people's lives.'

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has snubbed an invitation from Ms Sturgeon to meet during his visit to Scotland this week.

The First Minister had invited Mr Johnson to meet at her official Edinburgh residence, Bute House, to discuss the UK's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Prime Minister has replied to Ms Sturgeon in a letter - posted on Twitter by a Sky News journalist - instead aiming to focus on wider discussions at a later point.

In his letter, the Prime Minister said: 'As I noted when we last met, I am keen to arrange an in-person meeting with you and the other first ministers and deputy first minister to build on the constructive discussions we had earlier this summer.

'We agreed then that we should establish a structured forum for ongoing engagement between the Government and the devolved administrations to deliver tangible outcomes in the interest of people throughout the UK.

'There is much for us to discuss as all parts of the UK work together on our shared priority of recovering from the pandemic.

'I understand our officials have made good progress on the details of this since we last spoke.'

Mr Johnson added: 'I am particularly keen that we work closely together on the vaccination booster campaign this autumn which will be crucial as we continue to tackle the pandemic.

'The UK Government has procured millions of vaccines for the entire United Kingdom and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government as we roll out booster jabs in line with JCVI's advice.

'The UK Government is working closely with the devolved Scottish Government on a variety of different issues.

'I know that you have been meeting regularly with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, but I look forward to meeting with you soon and working together in the interests of people in all parts of our country.' 

What Covid vaccine will 16 and 17 year olds get? Will they get jabs in school? And will they need to show parental consent? All your questions answered about the Government's plan to inoculate 1.5million teenagers

Health chiefs are now set to recommend all 16 and 17 year olds get jabs, marking a dramatic U-turn.

Just two weeks ago the same expert panel — the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) — advised against doing so.

Boris Johnson is expected to accept the guidance immediately, paving the way for the roll-out to begin later this month.

But experts are divided over the hugely controversial topic of vaccinating children, given their tiny risk of dying or falling seriously ill. 

Some countries — including the US and Israel — have already started, which made Britain an outlier in so far only vaccinating the most at-risk over-12s.

As plans to vaccinate children in the are due to be unveiled by No10's scientists, MailOnline answers your questions about the roll-out to youngsters.


The Government has not yet given a timeline on when 16 and 17-year-olds can start coming forward for jabs. But even if the roll-out out to older teenagers begin straight away, there will only be time to give them one dose by the time the school year begins on September 6

When will children be vaccinated? 

The Government has not yet given a timeline on when 16 and 17-year-olds can start coming forward for jabs.

But even if the roll-out out to older teenagers begin straight away, there will only be time to give them one dose by the time the school year begins on September 6.

Britain's health chiefs say jabs should be dished out eight weeks apart, in order to give the immune system the biggest boost. 

Will jabs be dished out in schools?

Jabs could be administered in schools, like how the HPV vaccine is rolled out for 12 and 13 year old boys and girls.

But Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to push for them to continue to be given at GP surgeries and NHS hubs. 

One public health official claimed they could be done either in schools, or in existing vaccination centres at certain times. 

What vaccine will youngsters get?

The UK has so far only approved Pfizer's coronavirus jab for use in children over 12.

Moderna's vaccine — which works in a similar way — has not been given the green light for youngsters.

AstraZeneca's injection has been linked to rare blood clots, and health chiefs have already restricted its use to over 40s. Therefore, the British-made vaccine is unlikely to be offered to children.

The UK has so far only approved Pfizer's coronavirus jab for use in children over 12

Over-16s are expected to receive two injections eight weeks apart, mirroring how Pfizer's is given to adults. 

Scientists are currently testing nasal spray forms of the Covid vaccine — a method already used to give out children's flu jabs. But none of the candidates being studied have yet to make it out of trials. 

Which countries have already began vaccinating children? 

Britain is currently the 'outlier', with European countries and the US already giving vaccines to children. 

A quarter of children aged 12 to 15 in the US have received two doses, while a third have received one dose.

France, and Spain, Hungary have already starting giving the jab to over-12s, while 10 per cent of children are already vaccinated in Germany. 

Meanwhile, Canada, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, are expected to start giving youngsters jabs soon.

Israel approved the jabs for over-12s in May and subsequently approved it for 5 to 11-year-olds.  

What jabs are they using?

Pfizer has been the go-to jab for vaccinating children around the world.

But Moderna is seeking permission for its jab to be used for over-12s in the EU, US and Canada.

Last week, Italy approved Modern's jab for use in over-12s.

Have they been trialled on children?

The companies that make the vaccines, as well as other scientists, have studied how safe they are among children. 

Pfizer and Moderna found their jab to pose little risk in over 12s and are now trialling the injection in under-11s. 

Rigorous analysis also revealed the jabs were effective.

The JCVI said a trial of 1,000 12 to 15-year-olds who received the Pfizer jab found it to be effective and only cause short-term side effects like a fever.

University of Oxford scientists are testing the AstraZeneca jab on children aged six to 17.

So what are the potential risks?  

Covid is very rarely severe or fatal in children.

Just one in 500,000 under-18s are at risk of dying from the virus, researchers at leading UK universities found this month.

That means any vaccine given to youngsters has to be very safe because the risk-harm benefit from them catching the virus is so low.  

Since the vaccine roll-out has been expanded to children around the world, there have been reports of rare heart conditions: myocarditis and pericarditis.

Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is when the protective layer around the heart gets inflamed.

Data from the US shows those aged 12-17 are at the most risk of developing the heart problem after a Covid jab, compared to other age groups.

Around one in 14,500 to 18,000 children are thought to develop the condition. The risk drops to one in 250,000 among over 30s.  

There are no specific causes of the conditions but they are usually triggered by a virus.

The British Heart Foundation says in some cases, myocarditis can affect the heart's electrical system, stopping it from pumping properly. 'This can cause an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia,' it claims.

But British regulators insist the 250 cases seen among Pfizer recipients are 'typically mild'. Affected patients recover 'within a short time with standard treatment'.  

Will parents have to give consent for the jabs?

One of the most controversial issues surrounding the roll-out to kids is parent's role in their child's decision. 

Government sources claimed last night that under-18s wanting the jab would have to provide proof of parental consent.

But universities minister Michelle Donelan would not confirm that would be the case when quizzed about the move this morning, merely saying advice from the JCVI was 'imminent'.

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