Children as young as 12 could get vaccinated against Covid-19 without parental consent, according to the ex Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi, who has been promoted to Education minister, said where a difference of opinion arises, if the child is ‘deemed to be competent,’ the decision will be theirs.
He said: “On the very rare occasion where there is a difference of opinion between the parent and the 12- to 15-year-old, where the parent, for example, doesn’t want to give consent but the 12- to 15-year-old wants to have the vaccine, then the first step is the clinician will bring the parent and the child together to see whether they can reach consent.
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“If that is not possible, then, if the child is deemed to be competent – and this has been around since the ’80s for all vaccination programmes in schools – if the child is deemed to be competent, Gillick competence as it is referred to, then the child can have the vaccine.”
The minister confirmed this would only happen after a meeting with a clinician. He also said it is hoped the roll-out in schools will begin by September 22.
Twitter users were split on the announcement with some commenting that it was right to let children make their own decision.
One user wrote: “Good news that they are empowering the kids and protecting them from the dangers of parental silliness.”
However, others called the move ‘scandalous,’ writing: “This is outrageous. If parents want to get their kids vaccinated, fine. But let them take them to a health centre. Why make it happen at school when parents are not around?! Absolutely scandalous.”
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