Scotland's Sturgeon says expects advice on vaccinating children this week


FILE PHOTO: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Ministers Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain June 17, 2021. Andy Buchanan/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday she expected updated advice from Britain's COVID-19 vaccine experts soon and was hoping for more children to be offered shots before schools and universities restarted in September.

The UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said some children with underlying health conditions should get COVID-19 vaccines, but so far has not recommended a broader rollout of shots to under-18s.

The devolved Scottish government has control over its health policy, but the JCVI gives advice for the United Kingdom's four nations on the rollout of vaccines.

"We are hoping to get updated advice from the JCVI over the next day or so," Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament in a virtual session.

"I am hoping it will recommend going further on the vaccination of young people. I am particularly concerned if possible to get vaccination to 16 and 17 year olds ... we stand ready to implement that as quickly as possible."

She added that she was working on the assumption that there would be a booster programme in the autumn, following interim advice from the JCVI to prepare for one.

Sturgeon earlier had said she would lift most remaining coronavirus restrictions in Scotland next week, although the requirement to wear masks would remain.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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