Children in England aged five to 11 will be offered a Covid vaccine to protect them against the virus, the Government has said. 

The rollout of a low-dose Covid jab is expected to begin in April, with children being offered 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses.

This is a third of the strength of an adult dose, as research has shown a lower dose for five to 11 year-olds is just as good as a full dose for those aged 16 to 25. 

St Helens Star: Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK (PA)Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK (PA)

Almost six million children in the UK will be offered the dose after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation JCVI issued new guidance. 

The move comes after Scotland and Wales announced their intention to follow the JCVI guidance and offer coronavirus vaccinations to younger children, with England and Northern Ireland now following suit.

The MHRA approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged five to 11 last year and it has been given to millions of children and teenagers worldwide.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I have accepted the advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to make a non-urgent offer of Covid-19 vaccines to all children aged five to 11 in England.

“The NHS is already offering vaccines to at-risk children and those who live with immunosuppressed people in this age group.

St Helens Star: Health Secretary Sajid Javid (PA)Health Secretary Sajid Javid (PA)

“The JCVI advice follows a thorough review by our independent medicines regulator, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), which approved Pfizer’s paediatric vaccine as safe and effective for children aged five to 11.

“Children without underlying health conditions are at low risk of serious illness from Covid-19 and the priority remains for the NHS to offer vaccines and boosters to adults and vulnerable young people, as well as to catch up with other childhood immunisation programmes.

“The NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer to all children during April so parents can, if they want, take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of Covid-19 as we learn to live with this virus.”

The JCVI said the recommendation “should not displace the delivery of other non-Covid-19 childhood vaccinations”, some of which have been disrupted as a result of the pandemic.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of Covid-19 immunisation on the JCVI, said: “The committee has carefully considered the potential direct health impacts of vaccination and potential indirect educational impacts.

“The main purpose of offering vaccination to five to 11-year-olds is to increase their protection against severe illness in advance of a potential future wave of Covid-19.”