Five to 11-year-olds to be offered Covid jabs in Scotland, says First Minister

Scotland will follow the change made by the Welsh Government on Tuesday.

16 February 2022

Children aged between five and 11 will be offered the coronavirus vaccine in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Scotland follows in the footsteps of Wales, who announced on Tuesday that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had recommended the move.

Based on the same advice – which has yet to be formally published – Scottish ministers also approved the change.

Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood
The First Minister made the announcement on Wednesday (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Work is currently under way to develop how vaccinations could be delivered, with more information expected when the programme is finalised.

“Although it has yet to be published officially by the JCVI, like colleagues in Wales we have received advice from the JCVI which recommends Covid-19 vaccination for all children aged five to 11 years old,” the First Minister said.

“I can confirm that ministers have considered this draft advice and are content to accept its recommendations.

“Throughout the pandemic it has been our intention that we follow the clinical and scientific evidence available to us and I’d like to once again thank the JCVI for their hard work in scrutinising the science and providing clear guidance.”

She added: “Discussions with Health Boards on the best way of delivering vaccinations to five to 11-year-olds have already begun.

“These will continue and we will provide further information when this approach is finalised. In the meantime, parents and carers of children aged between five and 11 need not do anything.

“This draft advice does not affect children in the five to 11-year-old age group who have specific medical conditions which place them at greater risk from Covid-19. This group is already being vaccinated.”

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the change – which had yet to be announced at that point – could be implemented quickly.

“The assurance I can give you this morning is the Government will work very quickly to implement the advice when it is formally received from the JCVI,” he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“The Government has been keen to hear this advice from the joint committee and we will act very swiftly to make sure we can implement any recommendations that are made to us.”

With Covid-19 measures easing across the UK, Mr Swinney – who is also Scotland’s Covid Recovery Secretary – said he did not believe Scotland had more restrictions in place than other countries.

“I don’t think that’s the case,” he said.

“There will be a requirement for face coverings to be worn in public places, obviously these issues are subject to review by the Scottish Government.

“We have set our intention to publish the updated strategic framework, which will be published next week, the Cabinet will be considering that during the course of this week and next.

“Fundamentally the Government has got to have in place a legal framework that enables us to act.

“Covid has not gone away, it has not disappeared, it has not ended, and anyone who puts that argument around is just misleading people.

“Covid is still out there, it is still a significant threat to public health, we have got to proceed with care.”

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