No decision made on jab for healthy children - but it will require parental consent if approved
If approved Covid vaccinations for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds will require parental consent, the vaccines minister has confirmed.
Nadhim Zahawi said no decision had yet been made, though a call is expected by the end of next week.
The JCVI has advised against a national roll-out following its medical analysis alone, but now the chief medical officers (CMOs) of the UK are being asked for further analysis.
Asked if the parents of healthy 12 to 15-year-olds will be need to give consent for their children to be vaccinated, Mr Zahawi told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “I can give that assurance, absolutely.”
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Labour accused the government of failing to prioritise the decision, causing "anxiety" for children, schools and families.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the party supported waiting on further analysis from the CMOs but added: "It's very difficult for a lot of schools and families that this decision hasn't been prioritised and hasn't come earlier."
She told ITV News: "In the meantime there are other things that the governmnent could and should have been doing - better ventilation in schools and far clearer guidance to schools when they return."
'This decision hasn't been prioritised' says Lisa Nandy
Ms Nandy added: "Once again we've had a wasted summer and schools are having to shoulder the burden of that.
"It's simply not good enough that over and over again the education secretary goes missing in action when we most need some leadership."
Whatever happened to vaccine passports?
More than six weeks ago Boris Johnson confirmed Covid vaccine certificates will be required from the end of September to attend nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather in England.
Little has been said since on the policy, but on Sunday Mr Zahawi confirmed a "certification process" would be in place by the end of September "for large venues".
Speaking on Sky he said: "We are looking at, by the end of September when everyone has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, for the large venues, venues that could end up causing a real spike in infections, where we need to use the certification process.
"That is the sort of right thing to do and we are absolutely on track to continue to make sure that we do that."
The vaccines minister cited the success of the FA in reopening football stadiums to crowds under a certification process as an example of the plan in action.
"The worst thing we can do for those venues is to have a sort of open-shut-open-shut strategy because we see infection rates rise because of the close interaction of people, that’s how the virus spreads, if people are in close spaces in large numbers we see spikes appearing," he added.
"The best thing to do then is to work with the industry to make sure that they can open safely and sustainably in the long term, and the best way to do that is to check vaccine status."