Scotland to offer COVID vaccines to all 5-11 year olds

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LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Scotland will offer COVID-19 vaccines to all 5-11 year olds, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday, accepting advice received from British vaccine advisers.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out of all four nations of the United Kingdom, who have followed their guidance so far.

“Although it isn’t yet published, I can confirm that (the Scottish Government) has received advice from JCVI (advisers) recommending that vaccination is offered to all 5-11 yr olds,” Sturgeon said in a tweet.

“We will accept this advice & work is now underway on the logistics of delivery.”

Wales has also said it will implement the JCVI advice, with the Welsh health minister saying she was not quite sure why the publication of the JCVI’s advice has been delayed.

Britain has been slower than some other countries in offering the shots to 5-11 year olds. While vulnerable children have been offered the shot, Britain is not currently vaccinating the age group more broadly unlike countries such as the United States and Israel.

The British government, which sets health policy for England, is yet to announce the vaccination of 5-11 year olds, even though its vaccine rollout policy is usually co-ordinated with other UK nations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that he will set out more details of his strategy for living with COVID when parliament returns on Monday next week.

“We are reviewing the JCVI’s advice as part of wider decision-making ahead of the publication of our long-term strategy for living with COVID-19,” a UK health ministry spokesperson said. “More detail will be set out shortly.”

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by William James)

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