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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Covid Wales: Go-ahead for boosters and jabs for 12-15 year olds


Jabs for 12-15 year olds and boosters for the over-50s have been given the go-ahead in Wales.

Third doses will be available to anyone over the age of 50, as well as all frontline health and social care workers and those with underlying health conditions.

Both programmes will begin next week, with boosters first given to care residents and staff, as well as NHS staff.

One dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be given to young teenagers.

The decision was made in response to senior UK medical advisers’ recommendations that it would help reduce disruption in schools.

It will be up to the children and their parents to decide whether or not to receive the vaccines.

Eluned Morgan, Minister of Health, said parents will have to weigh the “risks and benefits,” but she warned that one in every seven children infected with coronavirus can develop long Covid.

“Our main concern is that we don’t disrupt children’s schooling any more than we already have,” she added.

Ms Morgan stated that the NHS is prepared to provide boosters, which will begin next week for people living and working in care homes, as well as frontline health and social care staff.

It will then be available to anyone over the age of 50, she said at a press conference. The programme could benefit approximately 1.6 million people.

Separately, she expressed concern about pregnant women not showing up for Covid vaccinations, urging them to seek advice from their midwife.

Wales’ vaccination programme is in line with the other three UK nations – vaccines for 12-15 year olds have been confirmed across the border in England.

Care staff and residents will be the first to get booster jabs

On Tuesday morning, government vaccine advisers issued recommendations on booster vaccinations.

Regardless of which vaccine people have previously received, the Pfizer jab is recommended, and it should be given at least six months after the second dose.

Ms Morgan described the length of time it took to receive the booster advice as “rather frustrating.”

She stated that the Welsh government had been ready to go “for a number of weeks,” and that the advice for young teenagers had taken “a little longer than we had hoped.”

Where will children be jabbed?

Eluned Morgan said ministers are concerned about continuing disruption in schools

Headteachers have expressed concern that they should not be involved in the implementation of vaccination programmes.

Eluned Morgan stated that vaccinations for children aged 12 to 15 will be administered in mass vaccination centres and “some” schools.

She stated that it would be up to health boards to collaborate with local governments “to determine how that will happen.”

She stated that parents who bring their children to mass vaccination sites would be given the vaccine’s “pros and cons” so that they could make informed decisions together.

Those who receive it at school will have a letter sent home to their parents or guardians.


Will parents or children consent?

Teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17 can consent to treatment without the involvement of their parents.

Those under the age of 16 may, but only if they are judged to have sufficient understanding, intelligence, and competence to make that decision.

If they do not have parental responsibility, someone else can make that decision for them.

Gillick competence is the name given to this process.

Ms Morgan stated that if there is a disagreement between parents and children about whether the child should receive the vaccine, a “clear process” will be followed, referring to Gillick.

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