Children should only be vaccinated after Covid jabs have gone to poorer countries, says Prof Andrew Pollard

·2-min read
Coronavirus vaccine doses (PA Wire)
Coronavirus vaccine doses (PA Wire)

British children should only receive a Covid vaccination after jabs have gone to adults in poorer countries, according to the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard told BBC Radio 4 Today’s programme that “children themselves are relatively low risk of serious infection”.

He said: “I do think there’s a bit more time for evidence gathering to make the best decisions about whether to vaccinate children.”

He added: “Then the second question is when to vaccinate children.

“And my view is that we really ought to be using those doses, at this moment, for people in low and middle income countries who are at the greatest risk of severe disease.

“[We should] consider the ‘when’ after the rest of the world’s most vulnerable have been protected.”

Prof Pollard was also asked about the prospect of Covid booster jabs and said that there is not currently any evidence that the initial vaccinations wear off.

He said: “Well at the moment we’re not seeing any evidence, that I’m aware of, of any loss of protection over time.

“And we know, at least from the clinical trials, (there was) protection for the first six months after people have had two doses.

“But we don’t know yet whether boosters will be needed or not.

“And of course at the moment we’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure the second doses are into as many of those people over 50 – who are the greatest risk of hospitalisation – to try and minimise that.

“And you know we’re not that far from September.”

The director of the Oxford Vaccine Group added that the UK is in a “good place at the moment” and confirmed the vaccines were doing their job in preventing serious illness from the virus.

“We also have a virus that’s circulating which will cause some mild disease in those who’ve had two doses, and that will actually boost their immunity as well,” he said.

“So we’re actually in quite a good place at the moment, we’re not seeing any failure over time, waning of that protection.

“But it is something that needs to be looked at over time but I don’t think we have the evidence to predict the dates.”

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