05 August 2021
In line with recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), all young people in Jersey aged 16-17 are now eligible for the Pfizer/Biontech COVID-19 vaccine.
The JCVI is currently not recommending routine vaccination for children and young people under 16 unless they are at risk or are close household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
Young people who meet the following criteria are now eligible for the vaccine:
- all 16 and 17-year-olds will be offered their first dose - it is anticipated that second doses will be offered approximately 12 weeks after the first, following a confirmatory announcement from the JCVI
- 12-15 year-olds with specific underlying health conditions (including a severe neuro-disability, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression or severe learning disability) and those who are close household contacts of immunosuppressed people will be offered the vaccine.
- Work continues with Jersey’s leading paediatricians, the Children’s Commissioner, CYPES and Law Officers to ensure this group is vaccinated in a safe and ethical way. A further announcement will follow next week.
- 17-year olds who are within three months of their 18th birthday have already been offered the vaccine: to increase the number of fully vaccinated 18 year-olds.
It should be noted that young people aged 16 to 17 who have underlying health conditions which put them at a higher risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19 have already been offered a vaccination
Parents of eligible children and young people will be closely involved in discussions about vaccination for their individual child. However, the legal position is that anyone over the age of 16, who has the capacity to make such decisions, can give consent to receive the vaccine without further consent from a parent or guardian.
Adults aged 18+ are still strongly recommended to get their vaccine as soon as possible.
Other non-COVID vaccination programmes for children will continue as normal.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “As we offer the Covid-19 vaccination to more of our population we will reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread in our community. The JCVI have carefully considered the balance of risks for under-18s to have the vaccine, and I am confident that their recommendations are based on sound research and robust data.
“We will provide more details on the second dose for 16-17 year-olds as soon as the JCVI has confirmed its advice.”
Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: “I would like to reassure Islanders that these vaccines are safe and effective for use in this age group. The vaccine has been through rigorous clinical trials to test these vaccines in younger people and there is now considerable post-marketing experience of vaccination within this group.
“It has, of course, been authorised by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Additionally, it is used routinely in these age groups in the USA, Canada and other countries.
“Although serious illness from COVID-19 is fairly rare amongst healthy young people, there is still a risk, and the risk is higher for those who are classed as clinically vulnerable. If they choose to be vaccinated, they will have a significant measure of protection against serious illness.”