The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the use of the jab in the younger age group on Friday, June 4 following a review of its safety, quality and effectiveness.
Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, 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 spokeswoman added in a statement: “The Government has asked the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise whether routine vaccination should be offered to younger people aged 12 to 17.
“We will be guided by the expert advisors and will update in due course.”
Speaking over the bank holiday weekend – prior to the MHRA’s approval of the Pfizer jab for use in 12 to 15-year-olds on Friday, Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the JCVI said deciding whether to vaccinate children is a “complicated” issue.
He said points to consider included whether children should be immunised on the basis of their own personal risk, whether they should be vaccinated to protect others or for educational purposes and whether there should be a use of vaccine in children when they are others in the world at risk of not being vaccinated.
Prof Harnden added: “We probably will give the Government a range of options.”
The European Medicines Agency previously recommended the use of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech be extended to children aged 12 to 15.
At that time, we asked readers to share their views on vaccinating their own children.
This is what you said on our social media pages:
Dawn Brown: “Yes I would. It can only protect them.”
Kelly A Howe Burgess: “Everyone has to do what they feel is right for them and their families don't think [it] has anything to do with anyone else if we give our child a vaccine or not.”
Hayley Turner: “Definitely yes - my kids have underlying health conditions so it would make sense.”
Stephen Boyd: “I've had two Pfizer but I would not let my child have one. These vaccines haven't been around long enough.”
Fred Hood: “All kids should be vaccinated they’re super spreaders of all germs and infections.”