Vaccinating children against COVID-19: the decision process
The decision to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to children and young people over the age of 12 years has been the subject of some discussion. Although there have long been anti-vaccination movements, often controversies such as this are the result of a misunderstanding of the process of decision-making and the assessment of risk, rather than a reaction to the vaccine itself. To understand why this decision was made, it is necessary to examine what the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said, and how this translates into a recommendation from the Chief Medical Officers, and subsequently a policy decision by the Government.
The JCVI is a statutory body established:
‘To advise UK health departments on immunisations for the prevention of infections and/or disease following due consideration of the evidence on the burden of disease, on vaccine safety and efficacy and on the impact and cost effectiveness of immunisation strategies.’
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