All teenagers over the age of 16 could soon be offered the coronavirus vaccine, under new plans expected to be announced Wednesday afternoon.
Ministers are expected to approve advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which recommends healthy teenagers aged over 16, who have not yet been able to get their vaccine, be offered the chance to be immunised.
Under existing guidance, young people aged 16 or 17 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious Covid infection should have already been offered a jab. The change would mean more than a million more teenagers will be able to access the vaccine.
Appointments for all over 16s could be available within a fortnight based on the reserves of the vaccine available, according to a report from The Times. It is expected that teens will be given the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, to match the guidance for other young adults.
Here’s what you need to know about the vaccine programme for kids so far.
Which under 18s can get the vaccine?
Teens aged 16 or 17 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious Covid should have already been offered a jab. The latest change would extend the rollout to teens aged 16 or 17 without underlying medical conditions.
Children aged 12 to 15 with certain conditions which make them vulnerable to coronavirus can also already access the vaccine. This includes children with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities.
Those aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person, such as a parent or grandparent, can also already access the jab.
What are other countries doing?
Nearly half of European countries have decided to offer the vaccine to children aged 12 and over, including France, Spain, Italy and Austria. Some vaccination programmes have started, while others are imminent, with plans to vaccinate children before the new school term in September widespread.
How will this impact travel?
The extension of the vaccine programme will help to open up family holidays for those who wish to travel to a country with strict entry requirements.
Take Malta as an example. Currently, you can only enter Malta if you’re double vaccinated. Children under 12 are permitted to enter the country if they’re holidaying with parents who have been double jabbed, but children over 12 aren’t. It currently means holidaying with teens in Malta is banned, but that will change if the youth vaccine programme continues to be extended.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.