A Parent’s Guide to the Covid Jab for 12-15-Year-Olds
September 16, 2021
This post addresses the UK’s decision to offer the Covid jab for 12 – 15-year-olds
On the 13th of September 2021, the UK Chief Medical Officers recommended that all healthy 12-15-year-olds have one dose of the Pfizer Covid 19 vaccine.
Meaning: within days or weeks, all kids in this age group will have the chance to get the vaccine. This has raised the question of benefits versus risks again when it comes to Covid treatment.
Additionally, this recommendation came about ten days after the UK JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), an independent body, reported that the …benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms.
But, since the benefit margin was too small, they did not recommend a universal vaccination rollout among healthy kids 12-15 years. (Excerpt from JCVI below)
“Overall, the committee is of the opinion that the benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms… but acknowledges that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the potential harms. The margin of benefit, based primarily on a health perspective, is considered too small to support advice on a universal programme of vaccination of otherwise healthy 12 to 15-year-old children at this time…. JCVI is constituted with expertise to allow consideration of the health benefits and risks of vaccination and it is not within its remit to incorporate in-depth considerations on wider societal impacts, including educational benefits. The government may wish to seek further views on the wider societal and educational impacts from the Chief Medical Officers of the 4 nations, with representation from JCVI in these subsequent discussions”JCVI
At a press conference to announce the recommendation, the UK CMOs and Head JCVI emphasised they are united in this latest recommendation.
So to answer the first question, there is NO conflict between these two groups.
But why did the earlier JCVI statement seem to differ from the CMO recommendation?
JCVI explains they have considered the health benefits and risks of vaccination in this age group to determine that while there is a benefit, it is so marginal they would not recommend a vaccination program.
However, they explained wider societal and educational impacts that should be considered outside their remit.
They presented this information expecting that any vaccine rollout decision should be taken based on including these other impacts. This is where the CMOs come in.
The Chief Medical Officers of all UK nations state they have considered these other factors in making the recommendation.
For example, they looked at:
These additional considerations led the UK CMOs, despite accepting the JCVI advice, to decide that the wider public health benefits are more than the risks of universal vaccination in this age group.
According to the current UK guidance:
Now here are some reasons why healthy kids aged 12-15 years should have the vaccine:
Well, the simple answer to this is yes – with some provisions.
First, all parents of 12-15-year-olds will be asked for their consent before the vaccination with the Pfizer jab.
This should trigger a discussion between the parents and their child – and if wished, your GP to advise on any areas of uncertainty before a decision is taken.
We think that in most cases, most parents and their kids will be in agreement on whether to have the vaccine or not.
But in the tiny per cent of cases where you as a parent do not want your child to have the vaccine, the final decision will rest with your child – if they are judged to be competent.
Being competent means showing emotional and intellectual maturity and the ability to understand the proposed treatment.
Or, in this specific case:
By the way, this child-centred approach is not new.
Legally, under the Fraser guidelines instituted by Lawlords in 1985, doctors can lawfully obtain consent from a young person – if they can show they are competent.
Let’s not forget that other countries like the US have been vaccinating young people in this age group as they get ready for the Winter period.
Also, the possible side effects that could happen in those aged 12-15 years are similar to those over 16 years:
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. As a result, people may have achy chest pain and feel short of breath.
Other symptoms to watch for can depend on how severe the condition is, such as:
Finally, what are your concerns or issues with the rollout program, given the JVCI and CMO’s opinions? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a health practitioner or reach us directly
Image Credits: Canva
Want to know how your comment data is processed? Learn more