Councils Running “Vaccination Webinars” in Effort to Get Consent from Parents to Jab Their Children

Amid reports of a shaky start to the roll-out of vaccines for healthy teenagers – which could now last well into the Christmas period – councils and local health officials have started giving “vaccination webinars” which are intended to persuade parents to give their consent for the ‘jabbing’ of their children. The Guardian has the story.

Headteachers have called for more resources to speed up the scheme as it becomes clear that the Government’s target for the programme to be completed by half-term will be missed.

Public health teams in Stockport and Oldham have advised schools that Covid vaccinations sessions will run until mid-to-late November. Schools elsewhere, including in north London, Watford and Staffordshire, have been told that they will not be visited by vaccination teams until next month. Other headteachers are still waiting to be given a date. …

Geoff Baron, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “There is increasing frustration among school leaders about delays to the rollout of Covid vaccinations for 12-15 year-olds. We are at a loss to understand why the Government has not placed more focus on ensuring this happens as quickly as possible.

“The main issues appear to be where healthcare teams don’t have enough staff on hand to vaccinate so many students at once, and where demand for the vaccine has outstripped supply.”

Councils and local health officials are meanwhile running “vaccination webinars” to persuade reluctant parents to give consent for their children to be jabbed in school. Official take-up rates have yet to be released, but health officials have expressed concern that if they follow the pattern of adults, children in disadvantaged areas will be less likely to be immunised and therefore more likely to have their schooling disrupted.

Parents across the country, including the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Greenwich and Merton, and in Leicestershire, are being invited to webinars to put concerns to clinicians and vaccine professionals. At a session last week by Barnet council attended by about 100 parents, health officials were quizzed about whether children who have already had Covid and have natural immunity should still be jabbed and why the U.K. has embarked on vaccinations for children when other countries have not. Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, and possible changes to girls’ menstruation cycles were also discussed. Some families raised fears that their refusal to give consent would not be respected.

Health officials reassured families that only pupils with “explicit parental consent” would receive the jab on school vaccination days. They said “processes” were currently being devised for administering the jab to children who want it but do not have parental consent and are assessed as capable of understanding the decision-making process and health implications – known as the “Gillick competence”.

Worth reading in full.

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