Doctor says 12-year-olds should be able to overrule parents on Covid vaccine if 'mature'


    The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ruled that children between 12 and 15-years-old should not be made to take the vaccine earlier this week. However, Dr David Strain has insisted some children are “mature enough” to decide whether to get the jab without their parents’ consent.

    Dr Strain, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, suggested a school nurse or GP could assess whether a child is capable of consenting to having the vaccine, even if their parents were opposed to it.

    He noted a similar assessment could be carried out to that given to girls under the age of 16 who want the contraceptive pill.

    The doctor explained: “Some children at the age of 12 are mature enough to make that call.

    “It will be dependent on people with training – the school nurse, the GP – people who have sufficient training to identify that.”

    Speaking to Sky News, Dr Strain stressed he does not support forcibly giving the Covid jab to children who refuse it.

    However, he added to the outlet: “I would argue if we have children who are legally permitted to make decisions about whether they’re going to partake in underage sex, then a similar sort of competence procedure could apply to whether they have competence to take the vaccine or not…

    “With this particular vaccine, we are vaccinating children predominantly for the greater good, rather than for their individual good.

    “If a child themselves refuses consent, and was said to be competent, then it would be almost impossible to give that jab.

    “I would in no way endorse holding someone down and giving them a jab… when they’re not getting the massive medical benefits that the older adults are getting.

    “They are getting marginal benefits.”

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    Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday parental consent will be required if the Government decides all 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered the jab.

    Speaking to Sky’s Trevor Phillips, the minister said he “can give that assurance, absolutely” parents will have a say in whether their children can get the vaccine.

    He later said to Times Radio children will be able to go against their parents “if they are deemed competent”.

    Under the concept of ‘Gillick competency’, under-16s can make decisions about their own medical treatment if “they’re believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what’s involved in their treatment”.


    However, the JCVI has already refused to endorse rolling out the Covid jabs to those between 12 to 15-years-old.

    They said there was “insufficient” justification for jabbing the age group on medical grounds, but added there may be wider benefits such as keeping schools open.

    Professor Wei Shen Lim, the JCVI’s chairman of COVID-19 immunisation, said on Friday the group’s view was that the benefits of vaccinating the age group “are marginally greater than the potential harms”.

    The JCVI’s review concluded the benefits of vaccinating children were “too small” to support a universal rollout at this stage.

    September 6 saw 41,192 new cases and 45 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test across the UK.

    In the week ending September 1, the seven-day average for new cases was at 362.9 per 100,000 people.

    In total, the UK has seen 7,018,927 cases and 133,274 deaths from the virus.

    Another 21,795 first doses and 73,193 second doses of a coronavirus vaccine were administered on Sunday.

    In total, 48,270,113 first doses and 43,455,083 second doses have been administered, equalling 88.8 percent and 79.9 percent of the population over 16 respectively.


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