THE Welsh Government is considering offering the covid vaccine to all 12-15-year-olds in Wales - despite formal advice not to - it has been announced.

In a statement, Eluned Morgan, Wales' minister for health and social services, been announced that a final decision has not yet been made, with the government set to “follow the clinical and scientific evidence”.

However, earlier today (Friday, September 3), the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that it is not recommending the vaccine for healthy children aged between 12 and 15.

While they have widened the rollout of the vaccine for youngsters within this age range with underlying health conditions, the JCVI has determined the benefit of vaccinating them is “only marginal”.

The committee decided under that the benefit is not large enough to support their mass vaccination from a purely health perspective.

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In Wales, the final decision will be made on the basis of the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) advice, and the advice given by the JCVI.

According to Ms Morgan, the JCVI report does not consider wider societal impacts, including educational benefits.

All four UK nations have today called on their CMOs to “provide guidance at the earliest opportunity on the clinical and wider health benefits of vaccinating this age group”.

The review will not consider any benefits adults may experience due to having children vaccinated, but rather will focus on areas outside the JCVI’s remit.

This would include lost education time due to Covid-related absences, either through sickness or being sent home from school.

It is expected to take several days.

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What has the Welsh government said?

In a written statement, Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services said: “Today, following months of discussion and consideration of evidence, the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have issued advice on the vaccination of children and young people aged 12-15.

“They recommend an expansion of the list of specific underlying health conditions for children and young people aged 12 -15 years who are eligible for two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

"In their advice, they detail the additional groups who will be eligible.

"Our NHS will work quickly to identify these children and young people and their health boards will automatically contact them.

"There is no need for patients to contact their health board or clinicians to check eligibility.

"Those children and young people already eligible under the JCVI’s advice of specific underlying health conditions will have already been offered appointments.

“On children and young people aged 12-15 who do not have underlying health conditions, the JCVI have advised that the benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms but that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the potential harms.

"From an individual health benefit perspective, they feel the margin of benefit, is considered too small to support advice on a universal programme of vaccination of otherwise healthy 12-15-year-old children at this time.

"They do however acknowledge that there may be wider issues to consider which are outside the remit of the JCVI to evaluate, such as wider societal impacts, including educational benefits, where the CMO would be better placed to advise, with representation from JCVI.

“I would like to thank the JCVI for fully considering the issue of vaccinating 12-15 year olds and for taking the care to form a balanced view.

"Alongside the other nations of the UK, I have asked my Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to provide guidance at the earliest opportunity on the clinical and wider health benefits of vaccinating this age group.

"Our intention, as it has been from the start of the pandemic, is to follow the clinical and scientific evidence. Decisions on the vaccination of all 12-15 year olds will be made on the basis of the CMO’s advice, in addition to the advice provided by the JCVI. In the meantime, our NHS has planned and stands ready to implement any further decisions taken.”