Ministers faced a backbench rebellion on Friday night over plans to vaccinate healthy 12-15 year-olds after 26 Tory MPs warned the Government that overruling expert advice risks “dissolving the bond of trust” between the public and the Government. The Telegraph has more.
In a letter to Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, MPs said that the Government’s willingness to “ignore” the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is a cause for “serious concern”.
Their intervention comes as Prof Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, prepares to advise ministers on whether there is a wider benefit to society from vaccinating children.
In the letter, MPs pointed out that a “large part” of the UK’s inoculation programme success stems from the work of the JCVI which had “successfully determined the priorities for the vaccination rollout since January”.
They added: “As a result of their leadership, the UK has one of the lowest levels of vaccine hesitancy in the world, and so far over 90 per cent of the adult population has felt enough trust in its analysis to confidently have at least one vaccine dose.
“Every step of the way, from the first jab administered back in December, to three quarters of us now being fully vaccinated, the JCVI has brought the country along with it.”
Signatories of the letter include Esther McVey, the former secretary of state, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs, and William Wragg, the chairman of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
MPs said they are concerned that any attempt by the Government to “overrule” the advice now risks “dissolving the bond of trust that has grown between state and public”.
Last week, the JCVI delivered its long-awaited verdict, saying the “margin of benefit” of jabbing 12-15 year-olds was “considered too small” and citing the low risk to healthy children from the virus.
Worth reading in full.