Teenagers Could Override Parent’s Decision on Getting COVID-19 Vaccine, UK Minister Says

Teenagers in the United Kingdom could override their parents’ decision on getting the COVID-19 vaccine once approved for 12- to 15-year-olds, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sept. 5.

Zahawi told Times Radio that although parents of healthy 12- to 15-years-old will be asked for their consent, children could overrule their parents’ wishes “if they’re deemed to be competent to make that decision, with all the information available.”

“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 favor of what the teenager decides to do,” Zahawi said.

However, Zahawi told Sky News that he could “absolutely” assure that parental consent would be required for children to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The UK government is currently preparing plans to either vaccinate the age group or not.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) decided against supporting the move on health grounds alone because COVID-19 presents a low risk to younger teenagers.

However, chief medical officers are reviewing the wider benefits of vaccinating the age group, including the safe return to schools. They are expected to present their findings within days.

“We have not made any decisions, so we haven’t decided not to listen to the experts,” Zahawi said.

“All four ministers, the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, and his fellow ministers in the devolved administrations have agreed to ask the chief medical officers to convene expert groups, including the JCVI being in that, to be able to recommend which way we should go on healthy 12- to 15-year-olds,” Zahawi further said.

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