Children should choose whether they have Covid vaccine, says expert

An expert says it should be up to children aged 12 and over whether or not they have the Covid vaccine – regardless of the parents’ wishes.

The Joint Vaccination and Vaccination Committee does not recommend vaccination for children 12-15 years old – but the government seems to be pushing vaccination plans for children in that age group.

Dr. David Strain, clinical director of Covid services at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said he believes 12-15 year olds should get the vaccine, overriding parents’ wishes about whether to get the vaccine. as Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested on Sunday.

Speaking to LBC Radio on Monday, the BMA Medical Academics co-chair said, “Many children as young as 12 are mature enough to make their own decisions, although not every child is the same.

“Doctors and nurses are trained to be able to assess and assess them competently.”

He added, “Vaccinating children will reduce the spread of the virus in the population by about 20%.”

The vaccines minister has denied not listening to the experts as he insisted the government has yet to decide whether healthy 12-15 year olds should be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Nadhim Zahawi said if UK senior doctors recommend vaccination it is “absolutely” right, but said he does not want it to be “predetermined”.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has decided against it to support the step solely for health reasons, since Covid-19 poses such a low risk for younger adolescents.

However, Professor Chris Whitty and the three other Chief Medical Officers in the UK are examining the broader benefits of vaccinating the age group, such as:

The government is waiting for their advice before taking a final decision, but ministers have signaled that they are interested in approving a broader rollout.

Speaking about Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Mr. Zahawi said, “We didn’t make any decisions so we didn’t choose not to listen to the experts.

“On the contrary, all four ministers, Foreign Minister Sajid Javid and his ministerial colleagues in the decentralized administrations have agreed to ask the chief physicians to convene expert groups, including the JCVI, in order to be able to make recommendations. Beat year olds. “

He said parents of healthy 12-15 year olds will be asked for consent if coronavirus vaccinations are approved for their children.

“I can absolutely assure you,” he said.

However, he said on Times Radio that 12-15 year olds could override their parents’ wishes “if, with all the information available, they are deemed competent to make that decision.”

Mr. Zahawi told the T&G program, “Essentially what you are doing is making sure the clinicians discuss this with the parent, the teen, and then when they are able to make an informed decision, that decision will be made hit in favor of what the teenager decides to do. “

Meanwhile, Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), which advises the government, told BBC Breakfast that he was “a little surprised” by the JCVI’s decision.

“We know the virus is very prevalent in this age group, and if we can lower the rates and possibly prevent further flare-ups later in the winter, this is the group that” needs to get immune, “he said.

“And the best way to get immune is to get a vaccination, and there has never been as much information as this in the past. To think that there hasn’t been enough research is completely wrong. “

Prof. Openshaw added, “In my opinion, the public health benefits are very, very important, and we have to take the general view that if we don’t reduce the rates of infection in this particular segment of the population, it will be very, very much difficult to prevent further large repetitions (from Covid-19).

“I would say that teenagers are often some of the most altruistic and generous people in society. They often think very deeply about these moral and ethical issues and want to protect others too.

“So I would think that a lot of teenagers, when they see the evidence around, would actually rather be vaccinated.”

On Friday, the JCVI approved an expansion of the vaccination program to a further 200,000 children between the ages of 12 and 15 with previous illnesses.

However, they stopped recommending the full introduction after investigating possible side effects, such as the extremely rare occurrences of myocarditis known as myocarditis following Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations.

While the disease can result in short hospital follow-up times, followed by normally rapid recoveries, the JCVI concluded that medium to long-term outcomes are still uncertain and more follow-up time is needed to get a clearer picture.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, the chairman of the JCVI for Covid-19 vaccination, said the group believes that the benefits of vaccinating the age group are “slightly greater than the potential harm,” but that the benefits are “too little.” to support a universal introduction at this stage.

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