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British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Dear members

Children who are CEV & vaccination advice

Following our involvement in the development of the College’s advice on children and young people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, I would like to highlight the College’s recent statement on the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

As you will be aware, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) and aged 16+ should be vaccinated as part of priority group 4, alongside those aged 70-74. JCVI’s advice is available here. The College supports JCVI’s approach on vaccine prioritisation, and we’d encourage you to follow that. It is essential that the programme is guided by evidence and we expect to see more safety and efficacy data gathered in the next few months that will inform vaccination strategies for groups not covered by this first phase (such as children and young people under 16 who are CEV).

The RCPCH also wanted to flag with you that it has recently come to our attention that, following the introduction of lockdown in England on 4 Jan, all those who are CEV and on the NHS Digital shielded patient list in England (adults, children and young people) have been sent a letter from the DHSC advising them to shield. This letter also refers to the vaccination programme but does not make it clear that those aged under 16 are not in the priority groups in the first phase. Contrary to what is said in the letter, it is not expected that children and young people under 16 who are CEV will be invited for vaccination by mid-February 2021. The RCPCH have raised this unfortunate miscommunication issue with DHSC and NHS England and asked them to look into it.

Sue
BSPGHAN President

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