2nd Aug 2021 @ 9:12 am

The Canary Islands are offering Covid vaccines on a first-come first-served basis to anyone over the age of 12. On Lanzarote, anyone interested can turn up at the health centre in Valterra between the hours of 1 pm and 5pm from Monday to Sunday, and they will be assigned a number. Vaccines will be administered as long as stocks last.  

Anyone attending over the age of 16 does not require parental permission to receive the vaccine, and will only need to bring their health card and ID document. Children under the age of 16 should attend with a parent or guardian.

Spain’s decision to vaccinate adolescents contrasts with the UK’s recent decision to leave this age group unvaccinated. The U. K’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization recently ruled that the health benefits of vaccination did not outweigh the risks of catching Covid for most youngsters, although children classed as vulnerable, or with vulnerable family members, will be contacted.

The UK, however, is an outlier in this respect, with the US and most European countries choosing to vaccinate children over the age of 12. So far, 61,000 children in the 12-16 age group have received at least one jab on the Canaries.

20% of all cases on the Canaries are among the 10-19 age group, the second-highest after the 20-29 age group, with 26%. Of those 2,780 children, seven are in hospital and one is in intensive care. No child in this age group has died of Covid during the pandemic, although three under-10s have done so, including a five-year old who died on Tenerife just over a week ago.  The other argument against vaccinating children, and also against third dose booster jabs, is that it would be safer for everybody to divert these doses of vaccine to other countries where they are more needed. This would not just save more lives, but might also stop the development of new variants.

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