12–15-year-olds with “severe neuro-disabilities” to be offered COVID-19 vaccine

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have advised that some children aged 12 and over who are at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should be offered the Pfizer vaccine.

Those identified by the JCVI as being eligible for the vaccine include children aged 12 and over with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities.

What are “severe neuro-disabilities”?

The Neurological Alliance have been in contact with the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England to establish what constitutes “severe neuro-disabilities” and will provide an update when possible.

Further details around the definition will be set out in the Green Book: Immunisation against infectious disease.

It has also been advised that those aged 12 and over who live with someone (adult or child) who is immunosuppressed should similarly be offered the Pfizer vaccine. This is for the purpose of reducing the potential risk of passing COVID-19 onto someone in their household who is at increased risk of serious illness due to immunosuppression.

What next for vaccinating children?

At present the JCVI does not advise routine vaccination of all children and young people aged 12 and over. This will be kept under review as more data around safety and effectiveness becomes available. The Neurological Alliance will keep you updated on this issue going forward.

Georgina Carr, Chief Executive of The Neurological Alliance, said:

“The latest advice from the JCVI around vaccinating children further demonstrates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those with neurological conditions and neuro-disabilities.

We welcome the decision to offer a vaccine to those aged 12 and over identified as being as higher risk from COVID and those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed.

Moving forward we will continue to work with member organisations, people with neurological conditions and government to best protect and inform those that we support.”

We await an update on the definition of “severe neuro-disabilities”. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news.