Teens aged 16-17 years old will be allowed vaccine before new school term
- Credit: PA
Young people aged between 16 and 17 years old will be able to get vaccinated without their parent's consent before schools reopen in September.
Health and Social Care secretary Sajid Javid accepted the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommendation and has asked the NHS to prepare to vaccinate 16 and 17-year-olds “as soon as possible”.
Mr Javid said in a statement: “Today’s advice from the independent JCVI means more young people aged 16 and over can benefit from Covid-19 vaccines.
“I have accepted their expert recommendations and I have asked the NHS to prepare to vaccinate those eligible as soon as possible."
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair of the JCVI, said while wider society can benefit from teenagers being jabbed, the primary focus informing the new advice was the benefits to younger people.
“JCVI’s main focus is the balance of potential benefits and harms for the individuals being vaccinated," Mr Shen Lim said.
“Vaccination of children and young people can bring benefits to other people, such as adults and including parents and grandparents but, at the forefront, is the health and the benefits to children and young people themselves.”
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He denied it was a “missed opportunity” to start vaccinating those aged 12 to 15 in the same cohort as those aged 16 to 18 as the vulnerable in that group would already have been offered the vaccine.
The professor also said that 16-year-olds were able to get the jab without parental consent.
“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,” he said.
Professor Wei Shen Lim added that the process should begin soon now the JCVI have advised 16 and 17-year-olds are eligible for vaccination.
"I would expect this programme will start in a very short number of weeks.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I think it's very important that everybody in politics listens first to the clinicians and the medical experts.
"I would just urge all families across the country to listen to the JCVI."