Dr Gregor Smith, chief medical officer for Scotland, stresses that today’s recommendation is based on what is best for 12 to 15-year-olds.
(In other words, the CMOs are not saying they should get vaccinated just for the sake of their parents.)
Here is the statement issued by the JCVI on 3 September explaining why it was not recommending a vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Lim said this does not contradict today’s recommendation.
Prof Wei Shen Lim says one issue is the extent to which vaccination will reduce absences from school.
He says this is an issue outside the remit of the JCVI. But he says that does not mean these issues were not worth considering, and that is why the JCVI said the CMOs should look at this.
He says there is “no conflict” between the advice from the JCVI and the advice today from the CMOs.
at 11.20am EDT
Dr June Raine is speaking now.
She says the MHRA has considered the risk from heart inflammation as a side effect. But the benefits outweigh the risks, she says.
Whitty says considering impact of school disruption on children’s mental health tipped balance in favour of vaccination programme
Whitty says the CMOs looked at issues such as education.
They received powerful evidence, he says – particularly taking into account areas of deprivation and mental health.
He says they were told disruptions to education were “extraordinarily difficult for children” and were having “a big impact on health, mental health and long term public health”.
Whitty says the CMOs thought vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds would reduce the disruption, and would therefore reduce the impact of these negative factors.
That is why they decided to recommend a vaccine offer.
He stresses that it is an offer (ie vaccination would not be compulsory).
It is now for ministers to take the final decision, he says.
at 11.19am EDT
Whitty says he wants to lay out the thinking clearly.
The CMOs started from the first principle of medicine: balance risks and benefits, and deciding if the benefits outweigh the risks. That applies in almost all areas of medicine, and informed the thinking behind this decision.
Whitty says the MHRA authorised the vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) on the basis of efficacy.
He says the JCVI then took on the issue, and recommended them for high-risk children above the age of 12. They also recommended a first dose for 16- and 17-year-olds.
The JCVI also considered the case for vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds. They thought the benefits slightly outweighed the risks, but they said the gains were marginal, and on that basis they would not recommend a vaccine rollout.
The issue was then passed to the chief medical officers so that they could consider the wider situation.
Whitty says the chief medical officers only looked at the risks and benefits for 12- to 15-year-olds.
And they took the data provided by the MHRA and the JCVI as read. They did not try to review it, he says.
He says the CMOs also consulted widely amongst medical bodies like the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the faculty of public health, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
at 11.13am EDT
Prof Chris Whitty is opening the press conference. He is in Downing Street with Dr June Raine, head of the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and Prof Wei Shen Lim, head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The other three CMOs are participating virtually.
UK chief medical officers hold press conference
The press conference from the UK chief medical officers about vaccinating teenagers is about to start.
Here is my colleague Peter Walker’s story about their decision.
In the comments SamSSS argues that the way the ONS figures about Covid deaths and vaccinations have been collected may be overstating the (undoubted) effectiveness of vaccines. (See 10.29am.)
This tweet, from John Roberts from the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group, may provide a fairer picture.
Here is the full text of the assessment by HM Revenue and Customs of the impact of the new health and social care levy. Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, claimed to not be aware of it when asked about it in an interview this morning. (See 9.38am.)
at 10.49am EDT
A report from the Office for National Statistics says 42% of workers in the poorest 20% of the workforce saw their income fall in the first year of the pandemic. For people in the richest quintile, only 31% saw their income fall.