‘We can reach herd immunity by jabbing teenagers’: Scientists say young people should get Covid vaccine before they become biggest source of infection to the vulnerable
- Experts suggest vaccinating teenagers would largely eliminate long Covid risk
- So far around 62.7 per cent of adults have been fully vaccinated with Covid jab
- Expert believes jabs for young people may be needed to reach herd immunity
Teenagers should be given the Covid vaccine to help the country reach herd immunity, scientists say.
While risks to youngsters remain low, experts warn they will soon become the biggest source of infection to the vulnerable.
Scientists point to other successful vaccine programmes – such as Rubella and HPV – which are given to children to benefit greater society more than themselves.
Vaccinating teenagers would largely eliminate the risk of long Covid, they suggest.
Professor Russell Viner, from University College London, told a Royal Society of Medicine briefing: ‘What we will do by vaccinating all the adults is change the dynamics so that children and young people become the source of most infections to vulnerable adults. I think that’s one of the reasons, in my mind, that we should think about vaccinating them.’
While risks to youngsters remain low, experts warn they will soon become the biggest source of infection to the vulnerable. A young adult is seen above being vaccinated
The UK’s vaccination programme is open to over-18s and some children in exceptional circumstances.
So far, around 62.7 per cent of adults have been fully vaccinated, the equivalent of around half of the country once children are counted.
Speaking at the same briefing, professor Beate Kampmann, director of The Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said Covid vaccines should be viewed in the same light as other jabs.
She said: ‘We’re already used to using vaccines for essentially the greater good for others, so I don’t think Covid is particularly an exception there. Whilst the risk is very low, we’ve also seen the evolution of long Covid in children and again, it’s a rare condition but it can also be very debilitating.’
Around 62.7 per cent of adults have been fully vaccinated, the equivalent of around half of the country once children are counted
Professor Jeffrey Almond, an adviser to the Government’s vaccine taskforce, believes that jabs for young people may be needed to reach herd immunity.
He told Sky News: ‘I’m in favour, if we can and when we can, of vaccinating children so that the whole population is immune to the point where the virus can no longer circulate.’
But Calum Semple, a Sage member and professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University, told BBC Breakfast: ‘The risk of severe harm to children (from Covid) is incredibly low. Vaccines are safe, but not entirely risk-free.’