12 to 15 Year Olds Can Defy Parents to Be Vaccinated, Says Health Sec Days After Vax Minister Denials

12-year-old Nicole gets her vaccination with the BioNTech vaccine at the district vaccination center in Ludwigsburg, southern Germany, on August 3, 2021, amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Germany will start offering Covid booster shots from September and make it easier for 12-to-17 year olds to get a jab, …
THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images

Britain’s two senior heath ministers continue to give mixed messages on whether parental consent is needed to vaccinate 12- 15-year-olds against the Chinese coronavirus.

On Friday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) declined to recommend vaccines for non-vulnerable children aged 12 to 15. But the government is reportedly consulting medical officers on whether to go against the advice.

So far, no decision has been made, but questions have been raised over the past few days on the issue of parental authority for teens so young, after the government said last month that children 16 and over could be vaccinated without consent from their mothers and fathers.

Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday morning, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid told Kay Burley that younger teens wanting the vaccine should be allowed to be jabbed against their parents’ wishes.

Mr Javid said: “I think we should follow the same rules that we’ve had in this country and successive governments for decades which is that you first would try to seek the consent of parents.

“We’re going to ask all parents for consent… If they don’t give consent.. and there’s a difference of opinion between the child and the parent, then we have specialists that work in this area in the school’s vaccination service that would usually sit down with the parent and child and try to reach some kind of consensus.

“If ultimately that doesn’t work, as long as we believe the child is competent enough to make this decision, then the child’s will will prevail.”

These remarks contradict those made over the weekend by Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who assured parents that vaccination for under-16s would need their consent.

In fact, Vaccine Minister Zahawi appeared to contract himself on Sunday during his round of media interviews, telling Times Radio host Tom Newton Dunn in the morning that should a child of that age wish to be vaccinated but their parents do not, “that decision will go in the favour of what the teenager decides to do” because National Health Service clinicians were experts at determining if the child is competent at making decisions.

Mr Zahawi had told Times Radio: “The NHS is really well practised in this because they’ve been doing school organisation programmes for a very long time. So what you essentially do is make sure that the clinicians discuss this with the parents, with the teenager, and if they are then deemed to be able to make a decision that is competent, then that decision will go in the favour of what the teenager decides to do.”

Asked for clarity of whether the teenager can override the lack of parental consent, Zahawi replied: “If they’re deemed to be competent to make that decision, with all the information available to them.”

However, speaking on Sky News that same morning, host Trevor Philips directly asked Zahawi: “Can you assure parents that if there is a decision to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds, it will require parental consent?”

“I can give that assurance, absolutely,” the vaccine minister responded.

This would not be the first time that government ministers contradicted each other or even themselves regarding the management of the coronavirus pandemic.

On January 12th, Zahawi had assured Baroness Fox of Buckley that there would be no domestic vaccine passports, only to double down on their impending introduction earlier this month.

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