- SKY NEWS - AUG 4, 2021 - Amy Borrett, Ganesh Rao and Carmen Aguilar García - Contribuiç~co Ernesto Matera -
The UK government has announced it will be offering the first dose of coronavirus vaccine to more than a million 16 and 17-year-olds.
This decision brings the UK more closely in line with the United States, Israel and France - all of which have started to vaccinate substantial numbers of older teenagers.
In Europe however, 29 countries have begun vaccinating children aged 12 and over or are planning to do so in the near future, according to data gathered by Sky News.
A further seven European countries have decided to only offer jabs to children with underlying health conditions.
The UK remains one of the few countries in Europe not offering the vaccine to children aged between 12 and 15. Children in that age group are being offered the vaccine only if they have an underlying health condition.
Outside Europe, Singapore, Japan, the UAE, Israel, the US, China, Canada and the Philippines have also decided to give jabs to all those aged 12 and over.
The US is one of the countries that has made the most progress so far, with more than 39.5% of 12 to 15-year-olds receiving their first dose by 2 August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But vaccinating children is a contentious issue.
The case for vaccinating children
In recent weeks, younger age groups have seen COVID cases soar relative to the older population, which is more likely to be protected by vaccines. The infection rates for 10 to 19-year-olds were the second highest in England for the week ending 30 July, more than 24 times higher than for the over-70s.
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