Six in 10 children aged over 10 want Covid vaccination

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

​Eleven per cent of children aged 10 and over are opposed to being vaccinated compared to 62 per cent who say they want the protection of a double jab.

The research from the Children’s Society involved more than 2,000 young people aged 10 to 17 and was carried out as part of its Good Childhood Report.

Of the respondents, 16 per cent were still on the fence as to whether they wanted to be vaccinated or not. The remainder preferred not to say either way.

The results come as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) continues to consider the issue of whether vaccinations should be offered to all 12 to 15-year-olds.

The current advice is only for vulnerable children aged 12 and over to be offer the vaccination. In light of the spread of the Delta variant, the JCVI has also recently advised that all 16 and 17-year-olds should be given their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

There has been much speculation in the media that vaccinations will soon be expanded to cover all 12 to 15-year-olds. The Pfizer vaccine has been authorised for use in persons aged 12 and over after a clinical trial involving 1,000 12 to 15-year-olds.

In England, between February 2020 and March 2021, fewer than 30 people aged under-18 died because of Covid-19 – a mortality rate of two deaths per million. During the second wave of the pandemic in the UK, the hospitalisation rate in children and young people was 100 to 400 per million, most of whom had severe underlying health conditions.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the decision should be left to the medical professionals and that schools should not “carry any responsibility for vaccination promotion, enforcement or policing”.

He added: “The number of cases of Covid in schools is predicted to remain high, so disruption and missed education looks set to continue unless more action is taken to prevent transmission in schools. As ever, the government needs to be clear about the rationale and scientific evidence that underpins whatever decision they make, in order to reassure families that they are taking the right course.”

In July, a statement from the JCVI had ruled out vaccinations for 12 to 17-year-olds at that time: “There is good evidence that the vaccine is relatively reactogenic in this age group, with short-lived side effects including fever being common. There are emerging reports from the UK and other countries of rare but serious adverse events, including myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart), following the use of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in younger adults. Any decision on deployment of vaccines must be made on the basis that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks to those people who are vaccinated.”

It added: “At this time JCVI does not consider that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks.”

However, this position was partially revised on August 4 when the committee said that 16 and 17-year-olds could now receive a first dose only of the Pfizer vaccine.

When broken down by age, the Children’s Society data found that only 10 per cent of students aged 14 to 17 did not want to get the vaccine compared to 15 per cent of those aged 10 to 13.

The research also asked the children’s parents, with very similar results:

66 per cent wanted their children to have the vaccine, 13 per cent were not sure and 11 per cent were against. The remainder preferred not to say either way.

In the survey, children were asked to indicate how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement: “I would like to get the Covid-19 vaccine if/when it is available to children.”

The survey was conducted from April to June this year and the charity’s full Good Childhood Report is reporting that while most children have coped relatively well with the upheaval and disruption of Covid, four per cent of 10 to 17-year-olds – around 250,000 young people – say they have struggled.

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