COVID vaccine invites for 12 to 15 year olds

People aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
A person injecting someone with the COVID-19 vaccine

The government has announced that children aged 12 to 15 should be offered the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Key takeaways from the government's announcement

  • People aged 12-15 in England will be offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, starting from 20 September
  • Young people will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
  • The vaccine will be delivered via a schools-based vaccination programme, which is the successful model used for vaccinations including for HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP)
  • Alternative provision will be made for young people who are home schooled, in secure services or specialist mental health settings.
  • Move follows unanimous advice to ministers from the four UK Chief Medical Officers
  • Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes.

More about consent

  • Under 16s are not automatically presumed to be legally competent to make decisions about their healthcare and, therefore, whether they should be given the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the courts have stated that under 16s will be competent to give valid consent to a particular intervention if they have “sufficient understanding and intelligence to understand fully what is proposed”. (Gillick competence).
  • The Gillick test provides that if a child under the age of 16 has sufficient understanding and intelligence to understand what is being proposed, care and treatment can be provided without parental consent. If a child is not competent to give consent for themselves, consent should be sought from a person with parental responsibility.

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