The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has been approved for young people aged between 12 and 15 in the UK.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) made the announcement this morning.
It said the decision follows a ‘rigorous review’ of safety and effectiveness in that age group.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said: ‘We have carefully reviewed clinical trial data in children aged 12 to 15 years and have concluded that the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk.
‘We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved Covid-19 vaccines and this surveillance will include the 12- to 15-year age group.
‘No extension to an authorisation would be approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.’
‘It will now be for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise on whether this age group will be vaccinated as part of the deployment programme.’
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the next stage of the process will involve the JCVI deciding whether people under the age of 18 should be routinely vaccinated.
‘We will be guided by the expert advisors and will update in due course,’ they added.
The same jab was also approved for use in the UK for 16 and 17 year olds in December 2020.
The current advice is that people aged 16 and 17 should be offered the vaccine is they are in a vulnerable group or live in the same household as someone who is immunosuppressed.
But there is currently no routine vaccination of under 18s in place.
It comes after France announced today that it will reopen its borders next week to fully vaccinated British people who have tested negative for Covid-19.
These tourists will not need a ‘compelling reason’ to enter the country from Wednesday onwards.
But France remains on the UK amber list for travel, meaning the Government has advised against people going there.
If travellers do visit, they must quarantine for 10 days on their return and take two coronavirus tests.
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