25. In summary, the JCVI advised that 9 groups of people should be initially prioritised for vaccination. These are (in order of priority):
1. residents in care homes for older adults and their carers
2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3. all those 75 years of age and over
4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
5. all those 65 years of age and over
6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality, and unpaid carers
7. all those 60 years of age and over
8. all those 55 years of age and over
9. all those 50 years of age and over
26. This approach to prioritisation in the first phase of the vaccination programme was supported by all 4 UK Nation Chief Medical Officers, in line with the advice from the JCVI, who agreed that this approach is most likely to achieve the initial aims of reducing mortality (death) from COVID-19 and maintaining our health and social care systems. Following further advice from the JCVI, vaccinations for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping were carried out alongside cohort 6.
27. The JCVI subsequently published further advice that COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to the whole adult population based on age, starting with the oldest adults first and continuing in the following order:
- all those aged 40 to 49 years
- all those aged 30 to 39 years
- all those aged 18 to 29 years
28. The JCVI's advice is supported by evidence that the risk of hospitalisation and critical care admission with COVID-19 increases with age. Those at highest risk of hospitalisation outside of the JCVI priority 1 to 9 are those aged 40 to 49 years, and the risk reduces with reducing age.
29. The JCVI have advised that children and young people aged 12 to 15 years old who have particular underlying conditions that make them clinically extremely vulnerable should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
30. Children and young people will also be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in the following circumstances but not necessarily in this order:
- 16-17 year olds who have underlying health conditions and young carers, and meet the criteria for this as set out in Phase 1;
- for operational flexibility the vaccine is offered to all 17 year olds who are within 3 months of turning 18;
- 12-15 year olds with the following underlying health conditions:
- severe neuro-disabilities,
- Down's Syndrome,
- underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression,
- those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the GP learning disability register.
- 12-15 year olds who are healthy but are household contacts of individuals (adults and children) who are immunosuppressed. The purpose of this is primarily to protect the household member who is immunosuppressed (16-17 year old household contacts are already offered the vaccination).
31. On 4 August 2021, the JCVI advised the routine offer of the COVID-19 vaccination to all 16 and 17 year olds for a first dose, with further advice on second dose in due course. At this stage, those who are 16 and 17 years old and in one of the at-risk categories will continue to be offered two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with an 8 week gap.
32. On 14 September following advice from Chief Medical Officers the First Minister announced that all 12-15 year olds not covered by previous JCVI advice should be offered a single dose of Pfizer vaccine.
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