Nine in ten parents 'want children to have Covid-19 vaccine'

·2-min read
Nine in ten parents 'want children to have Covid-19 vaccine'

Almost nine in 10 parents in England would want their child to have the Covid-19 vaccine.

A survey of 4,400 mums and dads with kids under the age of 16 found they were overwhelmingly in favour of vaccinations for their young ones to curb the spread of coronavirus, with just 12 per cent saying they were against the idea.

However, health experts insist not enough is known about the side-effects of administering the vaccine to children.

"Vaccines are safe but not entirely risk-free. We are aware in adults about clots, and there's some safety data from America showing rare heart problems associated with some of the vaccines," Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC.

"So until that data is really complete for children, I'm not persuaded that the risk benefit for children has been clarified.

"There's very nuanced debate going on here but at the moment I don't think there's enough evidence to support vaccinating children."

The survey, carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), was carried out in April and May - before the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had been approved by the UK medicines regulator for use on children aged 12 to 15.

The debate over vaccinating children has been raging for some months, with parents and teaching staff growing frustrated when whole classes, or even year groups, are sent home from school to isolate when a pupil tests positive for coronavirus.

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the JCVI, told the BBC: "JCVI are very aware of the issues surrounding both the pros and the cons of vaccinating their children, which we will talk about in due course, but actually what we need to be absolutely sure is that these vaccines benefit children in some way...so we are looking at this data very carefully."

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