CHILDREN over the age of 12 with underlying health conditions will be offered a Covid-19 vaccine in Wales. 

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published its further advice on the vaccination of children and young people and is now recommending that children with underlying health conditions should be able to access a jab if they are aged 12-15 years.

It will be offered to young people with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression, multiple or severe learning disabilities.

The JCVI has also said those aged 12-17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered a vaccine to give that person “indirect protection”.

Young people aged 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions should have already been offered a Covid vaccine.

Health minister Eluned Morgan said she accepts the advice from the JCVI, but she has rejected calls for routine universal vaccination of all other children and young people less than 18 years of age.

She said: “Covid rates in children are relatively low and there is still limited information about the overall direct effects of the virus on them.

“However, studies are emerging which show that this risk is very low in children, especially in comparison with adults, and similar to the secondary health complications of other respiratory viral infections in children.

“My officials remain in close contact with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on this matter and have established a group to consider the impacts of Long Covid on both adults and children and co-ordinate the wide ranging response needed.”

Turning to self-isolation, as the First Minister set out on July 14, it has been agreed that all adults who are fully vaccinated with NHS Covid-19 vaccines and under-18s, do not have to self-isolate on their return from amber-list countries.

The exception to this is France, from where on arrival people will continue to be required to self-isolate for 10 days, even when fully vaccinated. This is because of concerns about the Beta variant.

In addition, during August the Welsh Government will remove the requirement for people who have been fully vaccinated to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Ms Morgan said: “Self-isolation will continue to play a very important role to help minimise the spread of the virus. There will be additional safeguards in place for people who work in health and social care settings. We will consider as part of the next three week review of the regulations other potential exemptions, such as for those under the age of 18.

“We are still receiving a lot of queries about vaccine certification and some vaccines not being recognised by certain countries for entry.

“As outlined in my written statement last week, I would like to reiterate that all AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK appear on the NHS Covid Pass as Vaxzevria.”