The UK Government says there is evidence that vaccinating children could help stop them spreading coronavirus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said studies suggest the vaccines could reduce transmission by two-thirds, which could be a factor in deciding whether to vaccinate children against Covid-19.
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “There’s clinical trials under way as to whether children should be vaccinated.
“There are two points here. One is that it absolutely must be safe, specifically for children, so that is being currently investigated.
“The second is – because children very, very rarely get symptoms or serious illness from the disease – the value, the importance, of vaccinating children is to try to stop the spread of the disease.”
A WalesOnline report yesterday found that children were a key driver of transmission, especially in poorer areas where parents are less likely to have jobs which enable them to work from home.
The cost of childcare means many parents rely on grandparents to look after children. This means that children (who are less likely to show symptoms) are mixing freely with grandparents who are at an age where they are statically more likely to die from the disease.
Mr Hancock said the impact of the vaccine on stopping transmission is “something that we have early evidence” of.
“It looks like the first jab reduces your impact of transmitting the disease by about two-thirds, but we need more evidence on that as well.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London
Also speaking to Sky, Mr Hancock said he would publish what is legally required after the High Court ruled the government unlawfully failed to publish details of billions of pounds’ worth of coronavirus-related contracts.
He told Sky: “On average, we published them just over a fortnight later than they should have been, and there’s a reason for that, and the reason is that there was a global shortage of PPE and we needed to buy PPE to save lives.
“My officials, with my full support, spent every waking hour buying PPE so that even though we came close we never actually ran out of PPE in this country – and they did that even though the paperwork got delayed by, on average, just over a fortnight.
“That’s what the court found and I – and I think any secretary of state in my position – would absolutely back my officials in doing the right thing and saving lives.”
He said the UK Government would “commit to publishing on the standard basis what is legally required and what is normal to publish”.