Keir Starmer says his 12-year-old son would get vaccine as ministers prepare to push the button on rollout for under-16s
- Keir Starmer says his 12-year-old son will get vaccine if the rollout is extended
- The UK’s chief medical officers are set to decide on jabbing over-12s this week
- Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said children can overrule parents for jabs
Keir Starmer today insisted his 12-year-old son will get the vaccine if the rollout is approved for under-16s.
The Labour leader said he wanted younger people to get jabs ‘if they possibly can’ with the government preparing to announce a decision.
The UK’s chief medical officers are considering whether to extend vaccines to the age group with a decision expected no later than Friday.
Last week the JCVI told the Government that the virus posed such a low risk to children that the benefit to their health of immunisation would be marginal. But they did not consider societal factors such as the closure of schools sparked by the virus.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said yesterday children would be able to get the jab against their parents’ wishes.
In an interview with the Mirror today, Sir Keir suggested he would support a decision to extend the rollout.
‘Only one of our children falls into that bracket,’ Sir Keir said.
‘If the advice is for that age children to have it, we would follow that advice.’
Labour leader Keir Starmer (pictured in London last month) said he wanted younger people to get jabs ‘if they possibly can’ with the government preparing to announce a decision
Scientists and ministers have clashed over whether children should be offered jabs, with some arguing it would not be ethical for the UK to roll out jabs to this age group when so many at risk people in poorer countries are still not inoculated.
Others point out, however, that the world will need to live with Covid for years if not decades — so having a generation of children with natural immunity would help to prevent cases spiralling later down the line.
It comes as experts fear England will see a surge in Covid infections within days after children returned to school last week.
Children should be able to overrule their parents to get the Covid vaccine, a BMA chief has claimed.
Dr David Strain said 12 to 15-year-olds have ‘enough maturity’ to decide for themselves whether to get the jab.
The co-chair of the medical body added that rolling out doses to the age group could cut the spread of the virus in schools by 20 per cent.
Dr Strain, who is also clinical lead for Covid services at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, told LBC Radio: ‘A lot of children aged 12 have enough maturity in order to make a decision themselves, although it’s not the same for every child.
‘Doctors and nurses are trained to be able to evaluate them and deem them competent.’
He added: ‘Vaccinating children will reduce the spread of the virus in the population by about 20 per cent.’
Mr Zahawi told Times Radio yesterday that children would be able to get the Covid vaccine without their parents’ consent if the jabs are offered to the age group.
He said: ‘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.’
The minister added that if jabbing 12 to 15-year-olds was recommended by Britain’s medical officers it was ‘absolutely’ the right thing to do.
He said that parents would be asked for consent if jabs were approved for the age group.
Britain’s chief medical officers are set to decide whether the country’s four million 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered Covid jabs by Friday, reports The Mirror.
Whitehall sources said ministers would then ‘press the button’ on rolling out the jab for the age group as quickly as possible.
The NHS was told to have plans ready to inoculate the age group from two weeks ago.
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