Vaccinating Children

Ministers Tell Parents Their Children Must Get Jabbed or They Could Lose Out on Face-To-Face Learning

In case “vaccination webinars” run by local councils and health officials aren’t enough to persuade parents to give their consent for the ‘jabbing’ of their children, the Health Secretary and Education Secretary have written a letter to parents, which will be circulated by schools, warning that children who don’t get vaccinated are likely to lose out on some face-to-face learning. The Telegraph has the story.

Nadhim Zahawi… and Sajid Javid… have written a joint letter to parents, urging them to get their children vaccinated.

The letter explains that keeping children in school is a priority for the Government, but they need parents’ help to ensure pupils “are able to stay in face-to-face learning”.

Mothers and fathers should encourage their children to “come forward for the Covid vaccine”, the letter said, adding that this is “one of the best things young people can do” to protect themselves and those around them.

Their intervention comes as vaccine take-up among 12 to 15 year-olds appears to have stalled in England, with just over one in ten (11.6%) of the age group vaccinated. …

“We know that students have missed a lot of time in school and college since the pandemic started, and that there is no substitute for face-to-face learning,” it said.

“Keeping students in the classroom in the coming months is therefore a Government priority, both for their immediate and longer-term wellbeing.”

The ministers said that while children are at very low risk of serious illness from Covid, it remains important that they are vaccinated to “reduce the spread” of the virus.

“Young people who get ill will need to miss school or college, and may spread it to others,” they added.

“That is why we are encouraging you all to support your children to get vaccinated and to continue to test regularly. This will help to detect cases early, reduce spread, and keep students in education.”

Worth reading in full.

Government Refuses to Release Minutes of Meeting in Which Vaccine Advisory Committee Decided Not to Recommend Jabbing Healthy Teens

The U.K. Health Security Agency has rejected a freedom of information request to release the minutes of the meeting in which the Government’s vaccine advisory committee decided not to recommend the jabbing of healthy 12-15 year-olds on the grounds that it intended to publish these “in due course”. The BMJ has the story.

The agency argued that it was in the public interest to withhold the information until it could be released in a “simultaneous, coordinated manner” and that disclosing the minutes before they were finalised could “result in a false impression of the contents of the meeting”. The decision is being appealed.

On September 3rd the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that it would not be recommending universal vaccination for 12-15 year-olds because although the health benefits of vaccination were “marginally greater than the potential known harms”, the margin of benefit was considered too small. The committee did not explain what factors its conclusion was based on, and neither the minutes nor the data behind the decision have been made public.

The JCVI asked ministers to seek further advice from the U.K.’s chief medical officers on the wider potential benefits of vaccination. The Government later accepted the chief medical officers’ recommendation to vaccinate all 12-15 year-olds on the basis of an assessment that included transmission in schools and the effect on children’s education.

In a letter dated October 5th academics from Independent SAGE wrote to the JCVI highlighting the fact that, despite the committee’s own policy stating that draft minutes would be published within six weeks of each meeting, the last publicly available minutes were from February 2021.

They urged the JCVI to “abide by its code of practice and be open and transparent through rapid publishing of all agendas, supporting papers and minutes”, arguing that “public confidence in vaccination programmes is assisted by clear and consistent processes and messaging”.

Worth reading in full.

Government Has a Case to Answer on Children’s Vaccination, Says Judge

On Friday I reported on ONS figures which showed a worrying rise in deaths among 15-19 year-olds in summer 2021 compared to summer 2020, a period which coincided with the roll-out of vaccines to that age group. I asked whether the increase of 57%, amounting to 90 deaths, was a signal of deaths from serious vaccine side-effects such as myocarditis, or whether there was another explanation (such as increased road deaths, for example). There were only nine Covid deaths in the age group during the period, and there was no corresponding increase in deaths in 1-14 year-olds, adding to the concern.

I was not the only person to raise these questions. This data was presented, in fuller form and alongside other evidence, at a court hearing on Friday, where the Covid19 Assembly is seeking a judicial review of the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)’s decision to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use in 12-17 year-olds.

Although the Government had asked for the case to be struck out, the judge, Mr. Justice Jay, allowed it to continue, accepting that the claimants had an arguable case. The current position is that the court has adjourned the matter to a further hearing to allow the Government further time to respond to the case. The court has given directions that the Government submit further response and evidence by October 11th, with the claimants having to October 15th to reply. After this the court will reconsider the matter “promptly”. I understand that the vaccination status of the teenagers who died during the period of the rollout is part of the evidence that the Government has been asked to provide.

Deaths Among Teenagers Up 56% Since Vaccine Roll-Out Began

A post on the Daily Exposé on Thursday showed concerning statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicating that deaths among teenagers over the summer have increased significantly on the previous year, coinciding with the vaccine roll-out.

I dug into the data a bit and I have to say I agree that it looks worrying. I’ve plotted above the deaths among 15-19 year-olds by week for 2020 and 2021. (Unfortunately the equivalent data isn’t available for previous years as prior to 2020 the breakdown was into 1-14 and 15-44 year-olds.)

The marked divergence around week 23 broadly corresponds to when the vaccination programme among the age group was being ramped up, as indicated below.

Chief Medical Officers Say All U.K. Teenagers Should Be Vaccinated against Covid

The U.K.’s four Chief Medical Officers have advised that all healthy teenagers should be vaccinated against Covid, while admitting that “in those aged 12-15, [the virus] rarely, but occasionally, leads to serious illness, hospitalisation and even less commonly death”. The decision will trigger the launching by the Government of a vaccine roll-out for 12-15 year-olds, despite ministers being warned by the JCVI of the risk of side effects. The Telegraph has the story.

Professor Chris Whitty and his counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland said the benefits of vaccinating young people and reducing transmission of the virus outweighed potential costs of side effects for children and disruption to school timetables.

They also recommended that ministers “present the risk-benefit decisions in a way that is accessible to children and young people, as well as their parents”. 

“A child-centred approach to communication and deployment of the vaccine should be the primary objective,” they said.

Boris Johnson, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser, will give a press conference on Tuesday in which the Prime Minister is expected to announce he has accepted his chief medical officers’ advice and the rollout for 12 to 15 year-olds will begin.

A similar roll-out for children aged 16 and over is already running.

In a letter to Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, and other health ministers in devolved parts of the U.K., the medical officers warned that “in those aged 12-15, Covid rarely, but occasionally, leads to serious illness, hospitalisation and even less commonly death”.

“The risks of vaccination (mainly myocarditis) are also very rare,” they said. …

They… warned that individual choice to receive the vaccine or not should be respected.

“It is essential that children and young people aged 12-15 and their parents are supported in their decisions, whatever decisions they take, and are not stigmatised either for accepting, or not accepting, the vaccination offer,” they said, adding that information on the jabs should be communicated in a “child-centred” way.

Worth reading in full.

Why the Government is Wrong to Claim 12 Year-Olds Are Competent to Consent to Covid Vaccination Against Their Parents’ Wishes

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that if a 12-15 year-old wishes to receive the jab and is judged to be “competent” then his or her decision would overrule the parents’ refusal for their child to be vaccinated. The Telegraph has more.

In an interview with Times Radio on Sunday morning, Mr. Zahawi was asked what NHS clinicians could do if a parent says no to their child being vaccinated but the teenager says yes.

He replied: “The NHS is really well practised in this because they’ve been doing school immunisation programmes for a very long time so what you essentially do is make sure that the clinicians discuss this with the parents, with the teenager, and if they are then deemed to be able to make a decision that is competent then that decision will go in the favour of what the teenager decides to do.”

This idea that a 12 year-old can overrule his or her parents in a medical decision is based on the notion of Gillick competence, which derives from a 1985 House of Lords legal judgment (Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority) which provides that children under 16 may be able to consent to their own treatment if they are deemed to have sufficient intelligence, competence and understanding to appreciate fully what the treatment involves.

However, as the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance (UKMFA) explains in a recent open letter, the judgment in Gillick makes it clear it is to apply only in exceptional cases.

Pro Forma Legal Letter For Parents of 12-15 Year-Olds Who Don’t Want Them to Get Jabbed

There follows a guest post by Lawyers For Liberty, a group of non-partisan lawyers committed to defending freedom and human rights.

Are you a parent? Is your 12-15 year old going back to school today? Are you worried about your child being given a Covid vaccine without your permission? Have you communicated with the school, but feel like you are being ignored?

Maybe you are concerned that ‘Gillick Competence‘ will be used to get your 12-15 year-old to make this complex decision alone?

Or that your child will be coerced or peer-pressured into making a decision without access to the full facts?

Lawyers for Liberty in association with the Jonathan Lea Network and Powerless 2 Powerful Parenting have created an anonymous “request a letter” to go from Lawyers for Liberty to your child’s school to let them know of the legal consequences of relying upon a child’s consent for a Covid vaccine, especially if a parent has specifically not consented.

We, as Lawyers For Liberty U.K., will send an anonymous letter or email to schools on behalf of parents who are concerned about schools relying on their child to make a decision about whether or not to get jabbed.

If you’d like Lawyers For Liberty to sent a letter or email on your behalf, fill in this form. You can read a note on the legal issues involved here and the pro forma letter here.