The writer is a science commentator
The verdicts came faster than a ricocheting pinball. On October 29, the US Food and Drug Administration authorised the emergency use of lower-dose Covid-19 vaccines in children aged between five and 11. Four days later, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously approved them for the 28m children in that age group, with immediate effect. Booking opened last week.
Anyone observing this decisional sprint might conclude there is a pandemic on. Compare that with the UK, where discussions on adolescent immunisations have meandered from one cagey pronouncement to the next. Pfizer jabs were judged safe and effective for 12 to 15-year-olds by the UK medicines regulator in early June. But three months later, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended them only to teens with serious medical conditionsThe swearing in ceremonyJanuary 20, 1981. AP, citing marginal health gains and possible side-effects as barriers to a wider rollout. The fact that Israel, the US, Canada and various EU countries were vaccinating millions of teenagers barely registered. On September 13Syrians look ou, the government’s chief medical officers recommended a single-dose regime. The combination of a late decision, stuttering implementation and parental confusion over conflicting messages meant that by the first week of October, one in 14 secondary school-age children was infected.RELATED: WATCH: UN chief praises Scotland's efforts to tackle climate change
Now, the publication of relevant JCVI discussions casts new light on how Britain became an outlier. The minutes show a preoccupation with the rare vaccine side-effect of myocarditis — a temporary and treatable form of heart inflammation — and an almost dismissive attitude to the downsides of Covid, which include child deathscan serve up to six people per table.. The JCVI estimated that 1m first doses in 12 to 15-year-olds could cause up to 17 cases of myocarditis but prevent 87 hospital admissions and two intensive care admissions. Several scientists questioned last week why the JCVI had downplayed the risks of mass Covid in children and sidelined modelling suggesting vaccine benefits.