Coronavirus: Scotland to offer Covid vaccines to primary school pupils

Scotland will extend Covid vaccines to children aged five to 11.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the Scottish Government has received Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice recommending the universal vaccination of 5 to 11-year-olds.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would follow Wales in accepting the recommendations from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which submitted its verdict to ministers more than a week ago.

The UK medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged five to 11 last year.

The First Minister said talks were already underway with health boards about how such an exercise would be carried out.

She said:“Although it has yet to be published officially by the JCVI, like colleagues in Wales we have received advice from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all children aged 5 to 11-years-old.

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“I can confirm that Ministers have considered this draft advice and are content to accept its recommendations. Throughout the pandemic it has been our intention that we follow the clinical and scientific evidence available to us and I’d like to once again thank the JCVI for their hard work in scrutinising the science and providing clear guidance.

Children between the ages of five and 11 in Scotland are to be offered a Covid-19 vaccination, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

“Discussions with Health Boards on the best way of delivering vaccinations to 5 to 11-year-olds have already begun. These will continue and we will provide further information when this approach is finalised. In the meantime, parents and carers of children aged between 5 and 11 need not do anything."

She added: “This draft advice does not affect children in the 5 to 11-year-old age group who have specific medical conditions which place them at greater risk from COVID-19. This group is already being vaccinated.”

Wales was the first country in the UK to confirm it will offer the jag to children aged five to 11.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Deputy First Minister and Scotland’s Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney said the change – which had yet to be announced at that point – could be implemented quickly.

“The assurance I can give you this morning is the Government will work very quickly to implement the advice when it is formally received from the JCVI,” he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“The Government has been keen to hear this advice from the joint committee and we will act very swiftly to make sure we can implement any recommendations that are made to us.”

He added “There will be a requirement for face coverings to be worn in public places, obviously these issues are subject to review by the Scottish Government.

“We have set our intention to publish the updated strategic framework, which will be published next week, the Cabinet will be considering that during the course of this week and next.

“Fundamentally the Government has got to have in place a legal framework that enables us to act.

“Covid has not gone away, it has not disappeared, it has not ended, and anyone who puts that argument around is just misleading people.

“Covid is still out there, it is still a significant threat to public health, we have got to proceed with care.”