Over the weekend public health expert Linda Bauld called for primary school children in Scotland to receive Covid vaccinations.
The Edinburgh University professor of public health says, given the number of countries making the vaccine available to five to 11-year olds, and its regulatory approval, she hopes it will be rolled out more widely as soon as possible.
But what are Scottish Government plans to vaccinate primary pupils?
What are the benefits of doing so?
And are other countries already vaccinating this age group?
We’re answering all your questions on vaccinating five to 11-year-olds.
Which children can currently get the Covid vaccine?
All children aged 12 to 17 can currently get the coronavirus vaccine.
Children in this age group can now get their second dose, as long as at least eight weeks have passed since their first dose and they haven’t had Covid in the last four weeks.
Are there plans to vaccinate under-12s?
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has ruled the Covid vaccine is safe for under-12s.
However, it is currently uncertain how the rollout of this will work.
The Scottish Government makes its decisions on vaccination based on guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
On December 22 2021 the JCVI announced five to 11-year-olds who are clinically vulnerable or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed should be offered two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The doses should be administered eight weeks apart and at least four weeks after any infection with Covid-19.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We continue to roll out the vaccination programme in Scotland guided by advice from the JCVI.
“Should there be any update to advice about universal vaccination for five to 11-year-olds, we shall review accordingly.
“The vaccine will be offered to those aged five to 11 years old who are in a clinical risk group, or are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed.
“NHS Scotland is currently considering how best to deliver the vaccine to this group.”
What are the benefits of vaccinating children?
According to a University of Fribourg study in Switzerland, one of the key arguments for vaccinating healthy children against Covid-19 is to protect them from long-term health consequences catching the virus could pose.
Other wider considerations include population-level factors such as reducing community transmission, vaccine supply and cost.
The avoidance of quarantine, school closures, education disruptions and other lockdown measures are also considered in whether to vaccinate children.
Reducing community transmission within schools can also help towards preventing new variants emerging and spreading through the wider population.
Are there any risks or hesitations over vaccinating this age group?
Children are likely to have similar side effects to adults following the vaccine. These include pain at the injection site, and feeling more tired than usual.
Headaches, achy muscles or joints, and even fever and chills are also common. These side effects are usually temporary and typically clear up within 48 hours.
There has been some concern over whether the vaccine causes myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart).
This has, in rare cases, occurred after receiving the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
However, the risk is still extremely low and is a much more common complication of having Covid-19 than from getting vaccinated.
Are other countries vaccinating under-12s?
Yes. In Europe, countries such as Germany, Spain, Greece and Hungary are among those vaccinating this age group.
The EU regulator has given approval for primary school-age children to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
The Sinovac vaccine (which has not been approved for use in the UK) has been approved for children as young as three in China and Hong Kong, and six in Indonesia.