New research has suggested boys are 14 times more likely to be struck down with a rare heart complication called myocarditis.

The data, from the US, will likely fuel an already fierce debate over Britain’s decision to press ahead with inoculating all 16 and 17-year-olds.

Last week, the Government’s advisory panel ruled older teenagers should be given their first dose. Ministers plan to invite them before they head back to schools and colleges in September.

But health officials have yet to make concrete plans for children to get top-ups. They want to wait for more safety data about myocarditis before pressing ahead.

Real-world data from the US, which has been vaccinating children for months, have shown teenage boys to be at a higher risk.

It prompted one member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which green-lighted the move to jab children, to admit different advice for boys was ‘theoretically on the cards’.

The findings echo data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which suggests the risk is up to nine times higher among teenage boys.

‘But vaccine escape is inevitable and I think that adds to the argument not to blanket vaccinate children aged 12 to 15.

‘I don’t think that is going to help you minimise that when the risk of transmission is there.

‘With kids, they’re not going to stop transmission, they’re not going to stop escape variants nothing is so actually it’s all about the risk to the child themselves.

‘So yes we should offer it to vulnerable children but I don’t think that currently, the way it stands, vaccine roll-out to all of them is the way forward.’

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told the APPG up to 90 per cent of 17-year-olds already have Covid antibodies.

It suggests they had previously been infected, or currently had the virus and were developing antibodies.

Regarding the roll-out to 17 year olds, Professor Hunter said: ‘My concerns are why are we vaccinating an age group that has already been infected and recovered.


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