England’s senior medical official said on Wednesday that children are currently driving forward the transmission of coronavirus disease (Covid19). The official also said that at some point almost all children between the ages of 12 and 15 would become infected with Covid19 without vaccinations.
“There is definitely significant transmission in this age group. In fact, the age group we are talking about is the one that currently has the highest transmission rate as far as we can tell,” the agency quoted Reuters News as saying. England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said earlier in the day who made the remarks during a meeting with UK lawmakers about the decision to give the Covid19 vaccine to children aged 12-15.
Whitty’s comments came two days after the UK expanded the scope of its vaccination program to school-age children ages 12-15 on Monday. Previously, on September 14, the UK’s top medical officials recommended a single dose of the vaccine to all children in this age group to avoid interruptions in their education. “I have accepted the medical directors’ recommendation to extend vaccination to people between the ages of 12 and 15 in order to protect young people from contracting Covid19, reduce transmission in schools and keep students in the classroom,” said the British Health Officer Sajid Javid, who made the recommendation.
Meanwhile, Whitty said that while the vaccination program is expected to cause some disruption in schools, it would overcome the disruption that would result if children were infected with Covid19.
“The vast majority of children who currently haven’t had COVID will get it at some point,” he said. “It won’t be necessary for the next two or three months, but sooner or later they’ll get it because it’s incredibly contagious … vaccination will reduce that risk,” he said.
All children of the age group would be vaccinated with one dose of the PfizerBioNTech Covid19 vaccine while the government is undecided about the second dose. However, vulnerable children in this age group were already eligible for vaccines under the country’s vaccination program.
In addition to vaccinating school children, the UK plans to introduce booster doses for those over 50 and those with compromised immune systems to help control winter disease transmission.