23 February 2022
Children aged 5 to 11 years will be offered two pedatric doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Jersey's vaccination programme. This follows recent advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that 5 to 11 year olds should be offered universal COVID-19 vaccination.
The vaccine programme for 5 to 11 year olds will be rolled out this spring in line with the UK programme, with an interval of at least 12 weeks between each dose. Officers are currently planning the operational rollout of the programme, which will be delivered at Fort Regent so that parents and carers can be with their child when they are receiving the vaccine.
The advice to offer universal vaccination to all 5 to 11 year olds follows the decision to vaccinate vulnerable 5 to 11 year olds, which is already being offered to at-risk children in Jersey.
The latest evidence suggests offering the vaccine ahead of another potential wave will protect some children from serious illness and hospitalisation, and will also provide some protection against infection among the rest of the age group.
This recommendation should not displace the delivery of non-COVID-19 childhood vaccinations. It is vital that children continue to receive their childhood vaccinations as normal.
The Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: "Doctors and scientists at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have carefully considered the potential direct health impacts of vaccination as well as potential impacts on the overall well-being, including education, in this age group. They concluded that the vaccine should be offered universally to children who are aged 5 to 11 years old to increase their protection against COVID-19.
"I would like to reassure all parents and carers that the COVID-19 vaccine for children is very safe and effective. In the US there have been over 8 million doses given in 5 to 11 year olds and no new safety concerns have been identified. Known side effects are reported less frequently in this age group compared to adolescents and young adults.
"I would also like to remind parents and carers that it is vital to keep up to date with other important childhood vaccinations."
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "We welcome the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5 to 11 years old. We are already offering the vaccine to children of this age who are in an at-risk group or who live with those who are immunocompromised.
"Our vaccination programme will work to offer to all children of this age group the vaccine during April so parents can, if they want, take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of COVID-19."