Families of vulnerable Northumberland children face virus vaccine uncertainty

Scores of families with vulnerable children in Northumberland are facing uncertainty over the Covid-19 vaccine.

By Federica Bedendo
Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 4:53 pm
A coronavirus vaccination being prepared
A coronavirus vaccination being prepared

None of the approved vaccines have been tested on under 16s – and NHS Digital data shows there are 195 children in the area on the Shielded Patient List.

Vulnerable children under 16 will not be offered the vaccine and it is unclear how they can be protected.

The list includes people who have been identified as being most at risk of complications from coronavirus.

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Of the 16,735 people on the list in Northumberland, the largest age group – 4,925 patients - is made up of people aged 70-79.

The Government says that children and young people have a very low risk of contracting severe or deadly Covid-19 but Contact, a charity that supports families with disabled children, said it wanted greater clarity from the Government.

Una Summerson, head of policy at the charity, said: “We would welcome information on the approach the Government’s expert committee is taking to find an appropriate vaccine for children with long term and rare conditions.

“It might be that some of these children can’t have a vaccine and that’s why it’s so important that their parents are vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccinating their parents will help protect clinically vulnerable children."

The Department of Health and Social Care declined to respond to specific questions about the vaccination options for families of younger, clinically vulnerable patients.

A spokesman said very few children and young people were at risk of severe illness due to Covid and that doctors were reviewing those initially identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.