UK mother drives to ITALY to get daughter Covid vaccine

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In the UK, coronavirus vaccines are only available to under-12s if they are classed as clinically vulnerable. But one mother went above and beyond to get her nine-year-old daughter vaccinated against the deadly virus.

Alice Columbo headed to Milan from Maidstone, Kent, to get her daughter – who has Italian citizenship – vaccinated.

She said she did it to protect “the most precious thing in the world”.

Ms Columbo told the BBC: “I’d rather risk a vaccine we know a fair amount about than take pot luck with a virus about which we know very little.

“Why would I not give protection to the most precious thing in the world to me, my daughter, rather than run the risk of her turning round to me in five, 10, 15 years’ time, saying ‘Mum, I’ve got heart problems, I’ve got brain problems, I’ve got lung problems, why didn’t you do all you could at the time to protect me’?”

Ms Columbo said they made the journey to Italy in a 13-hour road trip to minimise the risk of mixing with other in planes.

She went on to say how she would like to see the UK roll-out vaccinations for under-12s.

She said: “I feel incredibly, incredibly sorry for all those other parents who share my opinion and would like to get their children vaccinated.”

Italy approved the Pfizer jab for five to 11-year-olds in December.

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June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said it was “very likely” the assessment will be concluded by Christmas.

She told a Downing Street press conference: “An application for use of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged five to 11 will be very, very carefully assessed as you would expect – for safety, for effectiveness at the proposed dose, and for quality.”

A JCVI member told i that “work is in motion” to assess the safety and efficacy of vaccines for five to 11-year-olds.

They said: “It’s not been approved by the MHRA but I think we will move very quickly in announcing our decisions once that’s been made.

“So it’s very much work in motion.”

The JCVI member continued: “The issue is it’s an extremely small number out of very small number of kids who’ve been admitted because of asthma and Covid, so we don’t want to overplay that.

“But these papers are coming out at the moment and we are discussing them as a matter of urgency.”

Before Christmas, Professor Adam Finn, an expert in paediatrics at the University of Bristol and a JCVI member, said vaccinating children is the “indirect protection of adults”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The extent to which we can do that and protect adults by avoiding them being infected by children with the current vaccines is still quite uncertain.

“That’s the balance – we clearly want to protect children as much as possible and we’ve got good evidence now that this vaccine, even at a low dose, produces a really good protective immune response in children and produces many fewer side effects because of the lower dose.

“The question really is should that be our focus right now or should we really be focusing on adults who are the ones that more commonly get seriously ill.”



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