Excess vaccines should be given to 'countries that need it' rather than kids, expert insists

5 June 2021, 13:04 | Updated: 5 June 2021, 13:13

By Seán Hickey

The UK should be sending spare Covid-19 jabs to countries that 'desperately need it,' rather than vaccinating low risk children, this SAGE adviser claims.

Professor Callum Semple is an expert in child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and is a SAGE adviser. He spoke to Matt Frei following reports that 12-15 year olds in the UK will be offered Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

"The benefit we're talking about is for society, and not for the children," he told LBC. Professor Semple suggested that a surplus in vaccines is better spent on nations that are currently struggling to control Covid-19.

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"Should these vaccines be better off going to India or parts of Africa where there's vaccine shortage?" He wondered.

"If we have an excess of vaccine I'd rather it saved lives in countries where they desperately need it."

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"I think it should be used to save lives" Professor Semple added, arguing that scrambling to vaccinate children won't have a massive impact on the UK's coronavirus fightback.

Matt pointed out that children aren't seen as "the main culprits of spreading the virus" in school environments and put to Professor Semple whether vaccinated children would reduce transmission in schools.

The SAGE adviser told LBC that children are "half as likely to catch it" and then "half as likely to transmit it on," which classifies them as a low-risk category.

He added that schools are a "working environment" and as such there are far more factors which contribute to viral spread there than a mass of unvaccinated children.

He reiterated that "if there's a surplus of the Pfizer vaccine...we should send it to those countries that need it most...rather than put in the arms of children in this country."

"Let's be more generous with this. Push it to some countries that need it."