Chris Whitty has said that school children who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid should expect to catch the virus “sooner or later”.
The chief medical officer said a “great majority” of those aged 12-15 who were undiagnosed were likely to have caught the virus “at some point” in the future.
Professor Whitty and his colleagues said last week that a vaccine would be offered to boys and girls in that age group that children would benefit from less disruption to their education.
But the senior doctor said school children who refuse vaccination should not be stigmatized or excluded from classroom activities.
Appearing before lawmakers on the Education Select Committee, Professor Whitty urged those who had been invited to be vaccinated to do so, saying that the benefits of vaccination “outweigh the risks”, although he acknowledged that It was only by “small difference”.
He said: “Most of the kids who don’t currently have Covid are going to get it at some point.
“It won’t necessarily be in the next two or three months but they will get it sooner or later because it’s incredibly contagious … Vaccination will reduce that risk.”
For those who refused to take the offer of a vaccine, he said that “the views of the families should be respected and no one should be stigmatized in any direction”.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, chair of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, who was also responding to questions from MPs, said: “Whatever choices the child makes or the family, there should be no decision.
“We would hope that children and families who have decided not to take this offer are able to fully participate in the activities.”
Professor Whitty said “substantial transmission is happening” in the 12-15 age group. “In fact, the age group we are talking about is the one that is currently having the highest rates of transmission, as far as we can tell,” he said.
Given the low risk posed by the virus to children, the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) originally stated that the individual benefit of vaccinating children against COVID was “modest”, and required the CMO to assess the wider public health benefits. said to.
But Professor Whitty and his counterparts concluded in an advisory issued on 13 September that vaccination for this age group would help reduce Covid-19 transmission in schools and reduce educational disruption.
As per the recommendation of the CMO, only one dose is being given to the children. JCVI will be consulted next spring, when more data are available internationally, to determine whether a second dose is needed.
The doses will be largely administered within schools, health officials said, and children deemed competent will be given the final say on whether they want to be vaccinated.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /