Routine vaccination of children is under way in England with the first jabs given in schools yesterday morning. Hundreds of schools are due to begin offering Covid vaccination to pupils aged 12-15.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, explained in The Times on Saturday that concerns relate to very rare cases of damage seen in children’s hearts as a result of the vaccine. He said that in normal times vaccination would not yet have been recommended and said parents should feel justified in opting to wait six months if unsure.
Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary and former vaccines minister, said: “Whatever decision teenagers and parents take, they must be supported and not stigmatised in any way. We must continue to respect individual choice.”
Consent letters are being sent out to parents but if they refuse and the child wants to have the jab, health staff will invite them for a “joint discussion”. If teenagers are deemed competent to consent to treatment, they can still choose to be vaccinated even if their parents disagree.
Zahawi said that “school immunisation teams will answer questions and provide information to help families decide”, but added that teenage vaccination was “another significant step in building the walls of protection from the virus across society”.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said: “It’s encouraging to see 12-15 year olds starting to get their vaccinations — reflecting our ongoing commitment to protect young people from Covid-19 and minimise any disruption to their education.”
David Elliman, a consultant paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said that more data would be needed before the Pfizer jab would be offered to under-12s.
Source: The TimesCategories: Uncategorised