Pressure is mounting on the UK Vaccine Advisory Group to recommend second doses of Covid-19 vaccines for healthy adolescents, after new research found the benefits “clearly outweigh” the risks.
The analysis, published Thursday in the journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found that any weekly case rate among 12 to 17 year olds above 30 per 100,000 would tip the equation in favor of vaccination to prevent hospitalizations. and the long Covid.
Case rates are yet to fall below that level this year and stood at 680 per 100,000 among 10 to 19 year olds in mid-September.
The British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Vaccination approved the first doses of Covid-19 vaccines for 16 and 17 year olds in early August, but was hesitant to approve second doses due to fears surrounding the rare cases of severe heart inflammation .
The JCVI is due to meet Thursday morning and said a decision on second doses should be expected in the coming weeks.
However, the analysis, which was produced by researchers associated with the Independent Sage scientific group, found that even if weekly case rates fell to 50 per 100,000, vaccines would still prevent 75 more hospitalizations than those caused by vaccine-associated myocarditis.
If weekly case rates were to reach 1,000 per 100,000, second doses for adolescents would prevent more than 4,400 hospitalizations, according to the analysis.
Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist at Queen Mary University in London who led the analysis, said the results showed that a full cycle of vaccination for every 12 to 17 year olds in England was “warranted”.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and a member of the government advisory group on threats from new and emerging respiratory viruses, said the Delta variant had “upped the ante”, meaning that a single dose was “almost certainly not enough protection even for adolescents”.
Maggie Wearmouth, JCVI member and GP, told the FT that the committee would need “really, really good evidence” before approving second doses for healthy adolescents.
“We would need very solid data that absolutely convinces us that it would benefit them and the rest of the population,” she said.