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Covid-19 vaccine to be offered to 5-11 year olds across Northern Ireland

'As has always been the case our vaccination programme will continue to be guided by the expert advice'

Children aged 5-11 who are not in a clinical risk group are now to be offered the opportunity to receive a covid vaccination following updated Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice.

JCVI has advised that all children aged between 5 to 11 will be offered two 10 mcg doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses.

The paediatric dose is a third of the strength of an adult dose.

In December JCVI advised that children aged 5 to 11 years in a clinical risk group, or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed should be offered primary course vaccination with two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (Comirnaty®).

JCVI have advised that the intention of this offer is to increase the immunity of vaccinated individuals against severe Covid-19 in advance of a potential future wave of Covid-19.

In a statement JCVI said that: “This advice on the offer of vaccination to 5 – 11-year olds who are not in a clinical risk group is considered by JCVI as a one-off pandemic response programme.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic moves further towards endemicity in the UK, JCVI will review whether, in the longer term, an offer of vaccination to this, and other paediatric age groups, continues to be advised.”

Responding to the announcement Health Minister Robin Swann said: “As has always been the case our vaccination programme will continue to be guided by the expert advice.

“This announcement by the JCVI underlines the important role that the COVID-19 vaccines plays in protecting people of all ages and has only been taken after rigorous assessment of both safety and effectiveness.

“I have asked the PHA to work with the Trusts to put this latest advice into operation and further details will be released shortly.”

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