Benefits of vaccinating 12-15 year-olds against Covid-19 "significantly outweigh the risks", says NPHET 1 month ago

Benefits of vaccinating 12-15 year-olds against Covid-19 "significantly outweigh the risks", says NPHET

"Covid isn't nothing in some children," a NPHET member has said.

The benefits of vaccinating 12-15 year-olds against Covid-19 "significantly outweigh the risks", according to a member of NPHET.

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Dr Mary Favier made the comments to RTÉ's News at One, following the Government's approval of advice that will see Ireland's Covid-19 vaccine programme extended to include the age cohort.

People under the age of 16 will need parental consent to be given before receiving the vaccine, with the HSE portal set to be updated to allow for this.

Asked about what her advice is for parents, Favier said: "The type of questions we're being asked already is should I give my individual child a Covid vaccine? What are the benefits? What are the risks?

"First of all the risks are really small. So, I think we can largely discount the risk and this has been used widely in other countries already."

She also said the benefits of 12-15 year-olds receiving a vaccine apply to both the children being vaccinated and the wider community.

"People could say 'well Covid isn't a serious illness in children' but one in five cases at the moment are affecting this age group," Favier added.

"Covid isn't nothing in some children. We've 200 or 300 cases a day of Covid in the young teens and late teens/early 20s and some of them, unfortunately, do get quite ill and some of them indeed go on to get long Covid.

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"So, there's individual benefits but then... there's benefits to the wider child community, what we call herd immunity - that if you vaccinate enough children, you protect the other children around who can't be protected for whatever reason.

"You protect other environments. In this case... other family members who might be vulnerable or into the schools' network."

Favier was then asked what she would say to parents who are worried about giving their child a Covid-19 vaccine, given how the monitoring of any possible side effects from their use is still continuing.

"GPs are used to answering questions from parents and guardians and they're always very reasonable questions... They come from a place of trying to do the best for your child," she said.

"There's no question that shouldn't or can't be answered.

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"But what we're saying is that for your individual child, the benefits significantly outweigh the risks."