The Scottish Government is looking to vaccinate vulnerable young people “as quickly as possible” ahead of schools returning next month.
It was announced yesterday that children in Scotland aged over 12 with certain conditions putting them at increased risk of serious consequences from Covid-19 are to be offered a vaccination.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI) updated its advice to enable 12 to 15-year-olds with specific underlying health conditions to receive the Pfizer vaccination.
This includes those with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register.
Those who are aged 17 but will turn 18 before October 31 this year can also now register for their vaccine.
During this afternoon’s briefing the First Minister did not give a timeline for when these youngsters could receive their first dose but said it would happen “as quickly as possible.”
Pupils in Perth and Kinross and Fife are set return to school after the summer break on August 18, with pupils in Dundee set to return the day before.
Angus pupils are due a week earlier on August 11.
Vaccinations are already available to 16 and 17 year olds at higher risk of falling seriously ill and they will continue to be eligible.”
Nicola Sturgeon said: “We intend to get on with what the JVCI is recommending and that is the vaccine should be offered to specific groups of 12 to 17 year olds.
“Vaccinations are already available to 16 and 17 year olds at higher risk of falling seriously ill and they will continue to be eligible.”
The first minister also did not rule out the possibility all teenagers being offered a Covid-19 jag and said that Scotland’s chief medical officer had written to the JCVI, asking that the benefit of vaccinating all 12-17 year olds is kept under close and ongoing review.
Will self isolation be scrapped for school pupils?
During this afternoon’s briefing, she also touched on the possibility of self isolation requirements changing for pupils when they return to school next month.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville previously said the Scottish Government is “looking very seriously” at possible changes to the self-isolation measures in place for children and young people.
Speaking today, Ms Sturgeon said: “I will be having further discussions about this in the days to come and we will set out fully, well in advance of schools returning, what our expectations are not just around self-isolation but the overall package of mitigation we would expect to remain in place in our schools.
“Clearly vaccinations, whether or not all young people have been vaccinated, has a bearing on that overall decisions but it’s not the only factor.
“We are acutely aware of the disruption to education of children being asked to self-isolate so there is a whole range of complex decisions we have to take here.”