Covid jab for 12-15 year olds to be carried out in mass vaccination centres and “some school settings”
The Welsh Government has said it will begin the rollout out of covid vaccine programme for healthy young people aged 12 to 15 next week.
The UK’s four Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) have recommended that all children in the age group should be offered a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Wales’ health minister Eluned Morgan confirmed this afternoon that she has accepted the advice of the CMOs.
The NHS in Wales will begin offering a dose of vaccine to young people aged 12-15 from next week.
She said children will be invited to vaccination centres and in some areas, jabs will be carried out in schools.
During a press conference today, health minister Eluned Morgan said: “Vaccination to children will be carried out in a number of ways.”
“There will be a blended mix of mass vaccination centres and some school settings.”
“It will be up to health boards to work with local authorities to determine how that will happen.” She said.
Ms Morgan said: “What we are clear about is that those invitations will go out this week, and we will start then vaccinating next week. Children will be invited generally to mass vaccination centres.”
“Parents will probably accompany their children to those vaccination centres where they will be given details on the pros and cons about getting the vaccination.”
“Then obviously it will be up to the parents and the children together to determine whether they want to receive the vaccine.”
The health minister said the process in school “will be slightly different, it will follow the normal process of immunisation that happens within schools, where a letter is sent out to parents.
Flintshire council has said it is currently working with the health board in North Wales on the arrangements.
Claire Homard, Chief Officer Education and Youth said: “We are currently working with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board on the arrangements for the vaccination of 12-15-year-olds as announced by the Health Minister today.”
“Once plans are finalised we will write to all parents/carers explaining what arrangements have been put in place for their child/children.”
The health minister said the vaccine is not mandatory and people can choose whether to have the vaccine or not.
“There will be appropriate information made available for children and young people and their parents to make up their minds about vaccination.”
“Parents or guardians will be asked to give consent. I encourage parents, guardians, children and young people to discuss
together whether or not to have the vaccination.”
“If there is a dispute between the children and the parents then there is a process to go through.”
If a young person under the age of 16 wishes to receive the Covid jab but their parents’ or carers’ don’t want to give consent, they can still proceed if the child has been assessed as Gillick competent.
Gillick competence assesses whether a child under the age of 16 has sufficient intelligence, competence and understanding to consent to their own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission.
If a child is not competent to give consent for themselves, consent should be sought from a person with parental responsibility.
Wales’ Children’s Commissioner has said simple, clear, and accessible information will be needed to help children and their families make an informed decision about the Covid jab.
Professor Sally Holland said: “My message to Welsh Government and to the Chief Medical Officer has been about the importance of simple, clear, and accessible information.”
“It needs to help children and their families understand the reasoning behind any decision, and how children’s wide range of human rights have been considered, including of course their rights to health, and education.”
“It also needs to clearly explain the benefits of the vaccine alongside any risks and any other critical information they will need to make an informed decision.”
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