Last reviewed 5 August 2021

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has accepted updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the Covid-19 vaccination of children and young people aged 12 to 17 years old.

It is advising that all 16 to 17-year-olds should be offered a first dose of Pfizer-BNT162b2 vaccine. Pending further evidence on effectiveness and safety in this age group, a second vaccine dose is likely to be offered later to increase the level of protection and contribute towards longer-term protection.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, said: “We have the supply and I'm expecting this to start in a very short number of weeks indeed. I want us to proceed as fast as is practically possible.”

In a statement available at GOV.UK, the JCVI said that it has been considering the potential harms and benefits of vaccinating this age group.

It had previously advised Covid-19 vaccination of all adults aged 18 years and over in the UK with vaccination under that age restricted to those with certain health conditions or who are living with others who are at a high risk.

“In all instances, the offer of vaccination to children and young people must be accompanied by appropriate information to enable children and young people, and those with parental responsibility, to be adequately appraised of the potential harms and benefits of vaccination as part of informed consent prior to vaccination,” the JCVI said.

Clinical trials are underway in pre-school and primary-school aged students with vaccines for these age groups only likely to be approved for use after summer 2021.