UK Govt Prepares to Vaccinate 16 and 17-Year-Olds Without Need for Parental Consent

A teenager receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at Clalit Health Services, in Israel's Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on January 23, 2021. - Israel began administering novel coronavirus vaccines to teenagers as it pushed ahead with its inoculation drive, with a quarter of the population …
JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Sixteen and 17-year-olds should be offered vaccination against the Chinese coronavirus without their parents’ consent, government scientists have said.

According to a government press release, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised on Wednesday that minors aged 16 and over can receive the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, affecting around 1.4 million children.

COVID-19 chairman for the JCVI, Professor Wei Shen Lim, said: “After carefully considering the latest data, we advise that healthy 16 to 17-year-olds are offered a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Advice on when to offer the second vaccine dose will come later.

“While COVID-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in most young people, it can be very unpleasant for some and for this particular age group, we expect one dose of the vaccine to provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.”

Children aged 12 to 15 will not be advised to be vaccinated at present, but that could change at a later date. According to Sky News, Health Secretary Sajid Javid accepted the JCVI’s recommendations, telling the National Health Service (NHS) to begin preparing vaccines for children “as soon as possible”, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging parents to “listen to the JCVI”.

Professor Lim confirmed that children aged 16 and over can be vaccinated without parental consent, saying in comments reported by the Evening Standard: “In the UK a person who is 16 years and above is deemed able to consent for themselves, and if they are competent and able to consent for themselves then that consent holds.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam said there was “no time to waste” in vaccinating children ahead of the new school year, saying: “I want us to proceed as fast as is practically possible.”

The United Kingdom is not the only country in Europe to begin vaccinating children against the Chinese virus.

Germany announced this week it will be offering all children 12 and over vaccines and France, Denmark, and Estonia are already working on vaccine drives targeting parents to vaccinate their children before the beginning of the new school year.

The EU’s medicines body, the European Medicines Agency, cleared for use Moderna’s vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 last month and expanded Pfizer-BioNTech for children as young as 12 in May.

With most over-18s having been in a position to have had the second dose by late September, Prime Minister Johnson announced that, from the end of next month, proof of double vaccination will be required for entry into nightclubs — widely seen as an attempt force greater vaccine uptake amongst young adults in Britain by threatening to restrict their social lives.

Lockdown sceptic Tories like Desmond Swayne MP have warned that domestic vaccine passports for pastimes favoured by the youth should be a concern for all citizens, because they are a “Trojan Horse for an identity card system. Once you bring in requirements of this sort, they’re very, very difficult to remove.”

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