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Children and covid-19 vaccines: Why has the UK been so slow to vaccinate teenagers and children?

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Compared with other high-income countries, the UK has been slow to approve and roll out covid-19 vaccines to teenagers, prompting concerns over long covid and the new omicron variant



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3 December 2021

Children at a school in Cardiff, UK, in September

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Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

For the first few months of this year, the UK led most other nations in vaccinating as many people against covid-19 as quickly as possible. But the country has been one of the slowest to vaccinate teenagers. News of the omicron variant of the coronavirus prompted the UK to recommend that 12 to 15-year-olds can now have a second vaccine dose three months after their first, but 5 to 11-year-olds remain completely unvaccinated. What is behind the UK’s apparent reticence around …

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