Covid-19 vaccination for disabled children and young people and their families

  • Current evidence strongly indicates that the single greatest risk of mortality from COVID-19 is increasing age and that the risk increases exponentially with age. Following infection, almost all children will have asymptomatic infection or mild disease. 
  • Whether a child with severe disabilities is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable has to be made on an individual basis. Children, even those with severe disability, do seem to be at low risk of serious illness from Covid-19 and guidance does not indicate that disabled children should be shielding. 
  • There is very limited data on vaccination in adolescents, with no data on vaccination in younger children, at this time. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that only those children aged 12 and over at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the AstraZeneca vaccine (this would be considered unlicensed use of the vaccine). 

BACD welcomes the news that the JVCI has revised its recommendations on 30 December to include unpaid carers. A child’s carer becoming ill with Covid-19 is the biggest risk to the child. 

  • The JCVI recommends unpaid carers who get Carer's Allowance, or who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should be prioritised alongside people with underlying health conditions. This means unpaid carers are now in priority group 6 (Green Book, chapter 14a). Our colleagues at Contact have received assurances from government that work is taking place to identify all unpaid carers so that they can be vaccinated in line with JCVI advice. Further guidance on this is expected in early February.
  • Contact’s advice is that unpaid carers ask their GP to mark their medical record with a "carers flag". There shouldn't be a reason for GPs to refuse this. 
  • Contact have also written to the government minister in charge of vaccines to call for the vaccine delivery plan to be republished to include unpaid carers and to provide communications to unpaid carers so they are clear on how they will be offered the vaccine when their time comes.

References

https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/coronavirus-vaccination-programme-statement

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/943663/Greenbook_chapter_14a_v3.pdf

https://contact.org.uk/advice-and-support/covid-19/children-with-health-needs/covid-vaccination-your-questions-answered/

25 January 2021

British Academy of Childhood Disability is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1177868
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