COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people under the age of 18 years UPDATED 13/8/2021

16 Aug 2021

The JCVI has issued updated advice on the vaccination of children and young people aged 12 years and over.

 

UPDATE 13 August 2021: COVID-19 vaccination for eligible children can be administered under the updated Patient Group Direction (PGD) or national protocol for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

 

This follows the initial request by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the potential extension of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for children and young people under 18 years of age. The JCVI:

  • Advised on 19 July 2021 that children and young people aged 12 years and above, at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19, should be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
  • Announced on 4 August 2021 that the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be extended to all 16 and 17 year olds, irrespective of immunosuppressed household contacts, and any underlying conditions and they should be offered a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

 

Table 1 below outlines the COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for children and young people over the age of 12 years.

 

Table 1.

Age Recommendation/further information Vaccine recommendation and schedule
12-17 years old and:

·       In a risk group

·       Household contact of an immunosuppressed individual

Children and young people aged 12 years and over, with specific underlying health conditions, at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19, should be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The risk groups for children aged 12-17 years include those with:

·       Severe neuro-disabilities

·       Down’s syndrome

·       Underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression

·       Profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD)

·       Severe learning disabilities or those who are on the learning disability register

·       Full details can be found in the Green Book, Chapter 14a

A full course (both doses) of COVID-19 vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only, with an interval of eight weeks between doses.

 

16-17 years old Following the JCVI’s updated guidance on 4 August 2021, all those aged 16-17 years old not in a risk group, or household contact of an immunosuppressed individual, should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. A first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only

·       Pending further evidence on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine in this group, the JCVI anticipates that the second dose will be offered later in order to increase the level of protection

Young adults who are within three months of their 18th birthday

 

Following the JCVI’s previous guidance, all those within three months of their 18th birthday should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. A full course (both doses) of COVID-19 vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only, with an interval of eight weeks between doses.

 

Key points for pharmacy teams:

Further information:

SPS: “Questions about Patient Specific Directions (PSD)”: https://www.sps.nhs.uk/articles/questions-about-patient-specific-directions-psd/