An announcement on whether to offer Covid booster jabs will be made in “the next few days,” Sajid Javid has said.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is preparing to make a decision.
Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday morning, Javid said he was “very confident” there will be a booster programme “this month”.
“In terms of who actually gets it and when, we’re waiting for final advice which could come across, certainly, in the next few days from the JCVI,” he said.
The health secretary said the advice is expected to include information on whether people should get different vaccines to the ones they have already had or the same ones.
Javid also said he expects to hear from the UK’s chief medical officers in the coming days on their views as to whether there should be a mass rollout of a vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds.
“I want to give them the breathing space, it’s their independent view and that’s exactly what it should be. But I would expect to hear from them in the next few days,” he said.
Asked how he would feel about children of that age group of his own having jabs, he said: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to pass a judgment because I’m waiting for an independent view.”
Javid said consent will be sought from parents of 12 to 15-year-olds as it has been “for decades”, but if a child is believed to be competent enough to make the decision they “will prevail”.
He said: “If there is a difference of opinion between the child and the parent then we have specialists that work in this area, the schools vaccination service. They would usually literally sit down with the parent and the child, and try to reach some kind of consensus.
“If ultimately that doesn’t work, as along as we believe that the child is competent enough to make this decision then the child will prevail.”