A small boy touches a pregnant woman's navel (file image)
Young UK children aren't offered COVID-19 vaccines, but pregnant women are urged to get vaccinated.

UK vaccination bans claim is heavy with misinformation

Nik Dirga October 20, 2022

England has banned COVID vaccines for pregnant women and children aged under five.


False. The UK government advises pregnant women to get vaccinated. COVID vaccination has not been offered for UK children aged under five.

Anti-vaccine protesters in Australia have been told England has banned COVID-19 vaccinations for pregnant women and children under five.

The claim is false. The UK government advises expectant mothers to get the jab, while children under five have never been eligible for the vaccines.

The claim was made in Sydney on September 17, during a rally held as part of a global anti-vaccine protest.

In a Facebook video (screenshot here) posted on October 15, a speaker tells the crowd: “England has banned the vaccine for pregnant women and children under five but we’re still giving it here in Australia,” (video mark 40sec).

A screenshot of the Facebook video.
 A video of a speech at the Sydney anti-vaccine rally is being shared on Facebook. 

However, official UK government advice shows this is not true and medical experts have told AAP FactCheck the claim is false.

“The statement is wrong,” said Aris Papageorghiou, professor of fetal medicine at the University of Oxford, who co-authored a 2021 study which explored the impacts of COVID-19 in pregnancy.

“In the UK, all adults including pregnant women are urged to be vaccinated; this includes the COVID-19 booster vaccine three months after their second dose,” Professor Papageorghiou said in an email.

UK children aged under five are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. It has not been banned.

“Vaccination for COVID-19 is not offered for children under 5 in the UK. It never has been,” a UK Health Security Agency spokesperson told AAP FactCheck in an email.

The United States is among only a few countries which offer COVID vaccines for all children under five. In Australia, it’s only recommended for children aged six months to five years with severe immunocompromise, disability and those with complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19.

A pregnant woman (file image)
 The UK is advising all adults, including pregnant women, to get COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Prof Papageorghiou’s study looked at 2130 pregnant women in 18 countries. It found mothers and newborns faced a dramatically higher risk of severe medical complications if the mothers were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Official advice from the UK National Health Service (NHS) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) confirms the vaccine guidance.

“Covid vaccines are strongly recommended in pregnancy,” the RCOG states.

Prof Papageorghiou said there were “clear recommendations from the RCOG and NHS”.

There have been concerns over the UK’s move to roll back widespread vaccination efforts for healthy children aged five to 11, but this is also not a ban, despite online claims which other fact-checking organisations have debunked, as seen here and here.

Viral posts claiming it’s not safe for pregnant UK women to be vaccinated have been circulating for some time. Many involve a misreading of a 2020 regulatory report and claims which have also been debunked.

AAP FactCheck has previously debunked other claims about children and vaccines (see here and here), along with ones about the pregnancy and vaccines (see here and here).

The Verdict

The claim England has banned COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women and children aged under five is false. Advice from the UK National Health Service and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is pregnant women should get COVID-19 vaccinations.

UK children aged under five have not been offered vaccines, but the United Kingdom has not banned vaccination for any groups.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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