Children need their parents’ written consent before receiving a Covid vaccine as the government’s independent advisers discuss plans to vaccinate children as young as 12 years old.
Schools will require parents to provide written consent forms authorizing their children to be vaccinated as they prepare to roll out child vaccination programs in the coming months.
The plans, to be finalized by ministers, would see schools across the UK issue consent forms to all parents and not vaccinate their children until they return.
It comes after Health Minister Sajid Javid last week told the NHS to prepare to prick children as young as 12 as Sage committee scientists warned a ‘big’ Covid wave would likely hit schools next month.
School needs parental consent before vaccinating children under new plans finalized by ministers
As the government prepares to roll out vaccines for children, Professor Helen Bedford of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health said school nurses would not proceed with a vaccine if they knew it was against a parent’s wishes.
She said The times: ‘In practice most’ [vaccinations] are given by school nurses and it is very unlikely that you will continue if you are sure the parent does not want it. ‘
This week, Sajid Javid said he was making plans so that the country was “ready to take off” when the JCVI – the government’s independent advisers – gave the green light to poke younger children.
The NHS has been told to begin recruiting and training staff to go to schools to give students Covid shots early next school year, if approved.
Head teachers will be told to prepare a room where the vaccines can be given or be ready to give the students time out of classes to get the jab elsewhere.
It is the clearest signal yet that ministers expect the shot for younger children to be approved in the near future.
It came as experts warned the government to plan a spate of infections in late September, following the return of children from summer vacation. Their fears were detailed in a paper from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (SPI-MO).
Earlier this month, campaign groups reacted to plans to push through the vaccination drive for students, claiming that children could come under “peer pressure” to make “inappropriate” decisions.
NHS England bosses have already told trusts to be ready to expand the rollout. Scientists warned the virus “will rip through schools” unless students are vaccinated before the new semester.
Sajid Javid said he was making plans so that the country was “ready to go ahead” when it gave JCVI the green light to poke younger children.
People line up to receive a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination center in Newcastle
Scientists have been at war for months over whether to continue expanding the rollout, with some experts arguing that it may be better for children to get Covid and recover to develop natural immunity than to rely on protection to vaccines, which studies suggest is declining in numbers. months.
Parent rights organization UsForThem, which was founded in May 2020 after the decision to close schools during the lockdown, said it was inundated with calls from parents who feared they would have nothing to say about vaccination.
Molly Kingsley, co-founder of UsForThem, told the Telegraph: ‘Yes, you have to ask for parental consent, but this begs the question of what will happen if consent is withheld?
“This is deeply murky and destroys the remaining trust parents have in government.
“It strikes me that given the uncertainty of whether a 12-year-old is authorized to give consent, there are serious liability issues for schools that continue to do so on school grounds.”
School leaders also expressed concerns about how the rollout would go without parental consent.
Steve Chalke, founder of a trust that runs 50 schools across the country, said it would be “highly controversial” for children to ignore their parents’ wishes.
And general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers Paul Whiteman said the responsibility for choosing whether to vaccinate children should not lie in the hands of schools.
It comes as figures showed that daily Covid cases in Britain have leveled off over the past week, although hospitalizations and deaths are still rising.
Health Ministry chiefs posted a further 38,154 positive tests yesterday, barely a change from the 38,281 recorded last Thursday. In England, the number of infections has fallen slightly for the ninth day in a row.
Meanwhile, both hospitalization and death rates — which are several weeks behind cases because of how long it takes infected people to become seriously ill — continue to climb.
About 178 lab-confirmed victims were added to the government’s official toll, a quarter more than last week’s 140.
And 848 Covid patients were hospitalized on August 29, the most recent daily figures for the UK are available. That was 4 percent more than the previous Sunday.
As the number of infections has started to fall across Britain over the past week, both hospitalizations and deaths are expected to follow soon.
But some scientists fear the return of millions of schoolchildren in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will inevitably lead to an explosion this week and next week.
And ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson warned yesterday that there would be a ‘significant increase’ in cases and ‘to some extent’ in hospitalizations due to schoolchildren going back.