Councils in Virus “Hotspots” Ignoring National Guidelines on Not Giving Children Covid Vaccines

Councils in variant “hotspots” have begun vaccinating children against Covid ahead of an official decision on the matter from the Government, with one inviting thousands of 16 and 17 year-olds to “drop into one of our vaccine clinics” without the need of an appointment. It is not clear whether these clinics only vaccinate children whose parents have given their consent. The Telegraph has the story.

On Friday, Rochdale Borough Council invited “anyone aged 16 and over” to have a first dose of the Pfizer jab without the need for an appointment. Another drive-through clinic for teenagers is due to take place in the town on Saturday.

On Friday night, a spokesman for the council and local NHS clinical commissioning group said a “multi-agency decision” had been taken to expand the criteria to 16 and 17 year-olds because Rochdale was “again in a desperate race to stay ahead of the virus”.

The spokesman said: “Our borough is one of the areas of the country worst affected by coronavirus and our infection rate is now approaching that seen in Bolton a few weeks ago. Among our younger age groups, the rate is almost 1,000 cases per 100,000 people.

“Many 16 and 17 year-olds with underlying health conditions have already been vaccinated but many other younger adults who are at risk for different reasons are falling outside national protocols.

“On that basis, and to avoid any vaccine wastage, a multi-agency decision was taken with clinical leads to temporarily expand the qualifying criteria for at-risk 16 and 17-year-olds for our clinics this weekend, but following discussions we have now revised our plans.”

GPs in west London and other parts of the country have also given the vaccine to healthy under-18s in recent weeks, it is understood.

A senior NHS source said on Friday that action would be taken against GPs and local authorities who “go rogue” by ignoring national guidelines. …

Yet in a leaflet seen by the Telegraph, Rochdale Borough Council invited thousands of under-18s to come forward for their first Pfizer jab. It said: “If you’re aged 16 or over and have not got an existing appointment, please drop into one of the extra vaccine clinics.”

In an accompanying video posted online, Dr Mo Jiva, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rochdale and Bury Local Medical Committee, invited anyone aged 16 or above to “come down and receive their first or second vaccine” at a drive-through clinic in a gym car park. “We hope to see you tomorrow,” Dr Jiva said. …

A source at Rochdale Borough Council said the move to vaccinate under-18s was a “clinical decision”.

Worth reading in full.

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