Head teachers have been threatened with legal action if they take an active part in the Covid-vaccination programme.
Group under pressure Lawyers for Liberty have warned that if families’ objections are not heard, school staff could be held liable.
Children aged 12 to 15 will be vaccinated by health professionals rather than school personnel.
One in every eight people has already been immunised because they or someone they live with is clinically vulnerable.
Every year, students in schools receive immunizations against other diseases with the consent of their parents, guardians, and caregivers as part of national NHS-run immunisation programmes.
The Covid vaccines in use have gone through the same testing and approval process; the process was simply completed faster due to the global focus on combating the pandemic.
In countries where the vaccine is already available to teenagers, millions of people over the age of 12 have received it.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, stated that the decision to immunise against Covid was made after “expert advice” from the UK’s top scientists and vaccination experts.
Details will be released soon, but it is widely expected that school staff will play no role in the immunisation programme, despite the fact that the jabs will be administered in school settings.
One letter from Lawyers for Liberty, seen by BBC News, talks about “exercising their parental responsibility during the decision-making process.”
“If a parent communicates to you that their child will not be included in the vaccination programme or does not provide consent, that decision must be respected, with no further consequences for the child, including direct or indirect discrimination or coercion,” it continues.
“Failure to do so may result in legal claims being made against you personally and against your school.”
“Many of our members have been receiving letters from various pressure groups threatening schools and colleges with legal action if they participate in any Covid-vaccination programme,” said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. This is extremely ineffective, and we would like to request that those involved in this correspondence refrain from attempting to exert pressure on schools and colleges.”
The letters were “misguided,” according to National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman, who stressed that the decision about immunising children was made by the government and that school staff would not be vaccinating children.
He stated that clear guidance on the immunisation programme was required immediately.
“Now that a decision has been made, it is critical that the government immediately confirms that the vaccination process will be entirely run and overseen by the appropriate medical teams.”
“When parents have questions, including about important issues like consent, those questions must be handled by the same medical teams.”
“This must be confirmed as soon as possible.”
“Otherwise, school leaders will be forced to confront questions for which they simply do not have answers.”
“The vaccinations will be administered by healthcare staff, and any disagreements over the question of consent between children and parents, which is likely to be extremely rare in practise,” Mr Barton added.