Teachers have been told not to hesitate to call the police to take action against anti-Covid vaccine campaigns, fearing protests at school gates next week.
Pfizer’s jab was approved Monday for 12- to 15-year-olds, and pressure groups had already threatened action within hours of the announcement.
National guidelines published today say that if school principals get wind of a protest being organized on school grounds, they should “warn the local government and the police.”
Previous anti-lockdown and vaccine protests have closed streets in central London and projectiles were launched at the Houses of Parliament.
The introduction of shots in children will begin next week and will be conducted primarily through the school’s vaccination program, with 3 million more children now eligible.
Today’s guidelines also confirmed that health care workers can decide whether a child can receive a Covid vaccine against the wishes of their parents.
The guidelines say shots will be administered by School Age Immunization Service (SAIS) teams that already run routine vaccine programs for things like the flu.
Schools will be used as a venue for the administration of the vaccines and the distribution of consent and information forms to students and guardians.
Mr Zahawi reiterated that the ultimate decision to get the shot rests with children – not their parents. Pictured: Library image of a pediatrician preparing a vaccine for a child during the coronavirus pandemic
THE RISK OF COVID VS THE RISK OF PFIZER VACCINE AMONG 12 TO 15 YEARS IN THE UK: UK regulators looked at the risk of a child with Covid being admitted to ICU. They also looked at the risk of vaccine-induced health inflammation — known as myocarditis — in young people who received the Pfizer shot, which was still very small, but slightly more common after a second dose.
Heads and teachers have also been advised not to “get directly involved” in vaccine disinformation campaigns.
Instead, they should “confirm receipt of concerns” and “refer to the most recent scientific guidance on the matter as appropriate.”
Babies could get Pfizer’s Covid vaccine in the US this winter
Pfizer’s Covid vaccine could be rolled out in the US this winter for babies as young as six months, according to plans being drawn up by the pharmaceutical giant.
In a move likely to spark international controversy, the company plans to apply for authorization to immunize US infants within the next two months.
The timeline will depend on the findings of internal studies investigating whether the vaccines are safe and effective in young people aged six months to five years.
Frank D’Amelio, chief financial officer at Pfizer, told an industry conference yesterday that the company plans to “get stuck in traffic” by November, the Financial times reports.
“We would expect … data for children ages six months to five years that we would submit to the FDA,” D’Amelio said at the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference. “In the weeks that follow, I’ll mention archiving the data for the five to eleven-year-olds.”
Pfizer was already planning to seek Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the shots that would be given to children ages five to 11 in October.
But the latest comments confirm the company’s intent to work its way down to much younger age groups. They will be given a lower dose than adults.
Pfizer’s shot, made with German partner BioNTech, has already been approved for children over 12 years old in the UK.
The guidelines were issued by the new UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which was set up during the pandemic to respond to threats to the country’s health.
It said some schools have received campaign letters and emails containing “misinformation” about the vaccine program.
The agency advised schools seeking advice on how to deal with protests to contact their SAIS team at the ‘first opportunity’.
“In the event of a protest or disruptive activity outside a school, or if schools know that a protest is planned, they should alert the SAIS provider, local government and police contacts to discuss how best to handle the situation.” , added the guidance.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has called on pressure groups to stop sending letters “threatening” legal action if schools or colleges participate in a Covid vaccination program, urging them to to organize protests.
He said: ‘The guidelines are absolutely clear that schools are not responsible for mediating between parents and children who disagree on whether or not to consent. This is the role of registered nurses in the school immunization service.
“We are very concerned about the possibility of protests being held outside schools, and we are pleased to see the guidelines refer to this and provide advice on how to respond to this threat.
Frankly, though, it’s a sad state of affairs if individuals or groups think it’s in any way helpful to protest outside a school against a vaccine program designed to help reduce educational disruption that seems to be helping us in the interest of children and young people.
“We beg people not to organize such protests.”
The guideline confirms that children who are 12 years of age or older on the day the SAIS team attends a school will be offered a vaccination as part of the program.
The vaccines will be administered by medical personnel working with the school and following the usual school immunization approach.
The advisory added: ‘For individuals between the ages of 12 and 15, the SAIS provider will seek parental consent in the same way as for any other school vaccination program.’
A consent form and information leaflet from the SAIS team will be used to request parental consent and parents will be provided with a contact number in case of questions.
The guidance said: ‘In secondary schools, some older children may be mature enough to give their own consent.
“This sometimes occurs when a parent has not returned a consent form, but the child still wants the vaccine on the day of the session.
Every effort will be made to contact the parent to request verbal consent. The school has no role in this process.’
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT School Leaders’ Union, said: “We are pleased to see that the Government has made it very clear that while vaccination teams may use school buildings, the responsibility, including legal responsibility, for the delivery of shots will be are fully associated with the appropriate medical teams.
‘This should contribute to keeping nuisance in schools to a minimum.
‘It is very important that parents can now put questions or comments to the vaccination teams through the appropriate channels. It is important that school leaders can focus on the education of students.’