Pressure is mounting on the UK Vaccine Advisory Group to recommend second doses of Covid-19 vaccines for healthy adolescents, after new research found that the benefits “clearly outweigh” the risks.
The analysis, published in the journal of the Royal Society of Medicine on Thursday, found that any weekly case rate in 12 to 17-year-olds above 30 per 100,000 would tip the equation in favor of vaccination to prevent hospital admissions and Covid. dragged on.
Case rates have yet to fall below that level this year, standing at 680 per 100,000 among 10- to 19-year-olds as of mid-September.
The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization approved the first doses of Covid-19 vaccines for 16- and 17-year-olds in early August, but was ambiguous in approving the second doses because of fears surrounding rare cases of severe heart inflammation.
The JCVI will meet on Thursday morning and has said a decision on the second doses is expected in the coming weeks.
However, the analysis, which was conducted by researchers associated with the Independent Sage scientific panel, found that even if weekly case rates fell to 50 per 100,000, vaccines would still prevent 75 more hospital admissions than those caused by cases of vaccine-associated myocarditis.
If weekly case rates rose to 1,000 per 100,000, second doses for teens 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 findings showed that a full course of vaccination for all 12 to 17-year-olds in England was “justified.”
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and a member of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threat Advisory Group, said the Delta variant had “raised the stakes” meaning that a single dose “almost it was certainly not enough protection even for teenagers. ”
Maggie Wearmouth, a JCVI member and GP, told the FT that the committee would need “really good evidence” before approving second doses for healthy teens.
“We would have to have very solid data that would absolutely convince us that it would benefit both them and the rest of the population,” he said.