12 Year-Olds

Keir Starmer Supports Covid Jabs For Kids and Would Vaccinate His Own 12 Year-Old

The Mirror has a scoop this evening: Keir Starmer has come out in support of the Government’s plans to vaccinate healthy 12-15 year-olds and says he’d vaccinate his own 12 year-old.

Keir Starmer has revealed that he would give his 12 year-old son a Covid jab if the vaccine to younger secondary children gets the green light.

The Labour leader said he was in favour of everybody having the vaccine “if they possibly can” to help curb the spread of the virus.

The Government’s top scientific advisers will make the final decision on jabs for the U.K.’s four million 12 to 15 year-olds within days.

Ministers are then expected to “press the button” on the NHS roll-out as quickly as possible to get needles into pupils’ arms.

With millions of secondary school children now back in the classroom in England and Wales, the Government increasingly concerned about a spike in Covid infections in coming weeks.

Ministers have confirmed that parents of 12 to 15 year-olds will be asked for consent before their children are given a Covid jab – although a loophole exists that could mean youngsters have the final say.

In an interview with the Mirror, Mr Starmer said: “Only one of our children falls into that bracket but I am in favour of everybody having the vaccine if they possibly can.

“Therefore if the advice is for that age children to have it, we would follow that advice.”

The Labour leader also urged ministers to speed up the booster process with the elderly given a third jab as soon as possible.

Worth reading in full.

Typical Starmer. Just when you think there’s a glimmer of hope that the Leader of the Opposition might actually, you know, oppose the Government, he rolls over and invites Boris to tickle his tummy.

Government Plans to Vaccinate 12 Year-Olds

The NHS has drawn up plans to start vaccinating 12 year-olds from the first week schools go back. The Telegraph has more.

Health officials have said children would not need parental consent to be jabbed under the programme of vaccination in schools.

On Wednesday, NHS trusts were told to prepare for the “possible rollout of a 12 to 15 year-old healthy child vaccination programme commencing September 6th”. Emails sent by NHS England’s regional offices, seen by the Telegraph, say trusts should draw up plans by 4pm on Friday.

The timetable – with the first jabs administered in less than two weeks – comes despite the fact that the Government’s advisers on vaccination have not so far recommended such a roll-out. On Wednesday night, the Department of Health and Social Care insisted no decision to roll out jabs for 12 to 15 year-olds had been taken.

Until now, Government advisers have said there is insufficient data to support such a move, but further research on the safety of jabs in this age group is about to be published, feeding into their review of the evidence.

In June, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the Pfizer jab for 12 to 15 year-olds in Britain. Last month, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that youngsters between those ages would only receive vaccines if they suffered from particular health conditions.

Jabs are currently being offered to those aged 16 and 17 following a recommendation from the committee earlier this month. They are only being offered one dose, with the JCVI yet to make a decision on whether or when a second should be given.

The caution is linked to concerns over a rare side effect called myocarditis – a type of heart inflammation – which is more likely to be triggered by second doses, and the NHS plans for the rollout to younger children also suggest that only one Pfizer dose should be given.

The emails from one of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s regional offices, sent to trusts on Wednesday, say: “In preparation for the possible announcement of a 12 to 15 year-old healthy child vaccination programme commencing September 6th, we have been tasked by our national team to request some additional detailed planning information from all systems.”

Trusts are asked to provide details of how they could vaccinate at least 75% of children aged 12 to 15 by November 1st.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Telegraph columnists Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan discuss this new development in their latest Planet Normal podcast.