As is often the case for many things when it comes to US recommendations and standards vs. EU standards, there's a difference of opinion on the necessity of vaccines for kids between the ages of 12-15 in Los Angeles, CA and Great Britain.

While the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will now require all students 12 and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 10, 2022, The British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that children between the ages of 12-15 NOT be vaccinated yet unless they fall in specific special-needs/immunocompromised categories.

LAUSD is the first (while certainly not the last, we assume) major school district in the U.S. to mandate the vaccination for eligible students to keep kids and teachers in the classroom.

Nick Melvoin is the Board Vice President and said that a medical and scientific consensus that this mandate was the best way to protect everyone in their schools and communities. Unless students have a medical or other exemption, if they are between 12-15 years-old, they will be required to be fully vaccinated and have proof of vaccination uploaded in the LAUSD Daily Pass system.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, the UK's vaccine advisory body has come out saying they will NOT recommend a blanket policy that encourages vaccinating healthy children who are between those same ages (12-15). The JCVI said that children still continue to be at such low risk for illness or death that the vaccines may only provide marginal benefit. The United Kingdon's four chief medical officers will now look at the data and recommendation from the JCVI and make a final decision. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said a decision was forthcoming soon.

The JCVI DID advise broadening the existing vaccine program to allow 200,000 additional teenagers with specific underlying conditions to be vaccinated if they chose. Those children include ones with chronic heart, lung and liver conditions as they are at a much higher risk from COVID than the typical healthy child.

The JCVI made this decision based on a side effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that has been found to lead to palpitations, chest pain and tachycarditis. Though rare, it also seems to be more prevalent in boys (60 cases of the heart condition for every million second doses given to 12 to 17-year-old boys as compared to eight in one million girls based on US data).

Ireland, Israel, France, and Italy are offering the vaccine to this age group but the JVCI concluded there was insufficient evidence to offer mass vaccination, much less mandatory. Deciding at the current time it would only offer 'marginal gain,' they believed mass vaccination unnecessary.

It's interesting to note that this recommendation doesn't necessarily fit in with the politicians of the UK's opinions on the vaccines. JCVI members have complained that government officials continue to sit in on meetings and make 'their' thoughts about getting this age group vaccinated asap well-known both privately and publicly.

Still, the JCVI has stood its ground in advising that at the current time, mass vaccination of 12-15 year-olds is not necessary, tough impact on school disruption in the future may make a difference. Many believe that up to half the kids in this age group may likely already have had COVID and might have natural immunity. The JCVI is taking a precautionary approach, looking at the small margin of benefit in a universal COVID-19 policy for this age group at this time. Prof. Wei Shen Lim is the chairman of Covid Immunisation for the JCVI and said that the committee will continue to review safety data as it comes out.

The JCVI does see merit in consideration of the vaccine for kids in those age groups who have the following:

  • blood cancers
  • sickle cell disease
  • type 1 diabetes
  • congenital heart disease
  • poorly-controlled asthma/respiratory conditions
Additionally, the JCVI recognizes that a broader perspective of the vaccine in those age groups will look at student absences as well as other effects of COVID they are not privy to. That may play into the chief medical officers' final opinions.