Claiming that the NHS “is really well-practiced in this because they’ve been doing school immunisation programmes for a very long time,” Zahawi told Newton Dunn on Sunday said that “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.”
Newton Dunn questioned, “So to be clear, the teenager can override the lack of parental consent? If a teenager really wants a jab and is only 15, the parents say no, the teenager can have it?” to which Zahawi responded, “They’d need to be competent to make that decision, with all of the information available.”
Bizarrely, on the same day, Zahawi told Sky News that children would require parental consent to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Asked by Sky News’ Trevor Phillips whether he could “assure parents that if there is a decision to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds, it will require parental consent,” Zahawi declared, “I can give that assurance, absolutely.”
Despite the fact that the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) refused to recommend on Friday that healthy children between the ages of 12 and 15 be vaccinated against Covid-19, given they are considered extremely low risk, the government is still pushing for vaccination – with The Times newspaper reporting that child vaccination could occur as early as next week.
JCVI’s deputy chairman, Professor Anthony Harnden, noted on Saturday that “the health benefits from vaccinating well 12- to 15-year-olds” are only “marginally greater than the risks,” and said that any decision should ultimately require “parents’ consent.”
“Both the teenagers and the parents need to be involved in that choice,” he argued.
The age of consent in the UK is 16.
On Friday, protesters stormed the London headquarters of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in protest of the government’s likely intention to vaccinate children under the age of 16.