Sleaford MP challenges minister over decision to offer Covid jabs for 12-15 year olds

Sleaford and North Hykeham’s MP has expressed her concerns about the government’s decision to press ahead with coronavirus vaccinations for 12-15 year olds.

Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham. EMN-170108-122250001

Conservative MP, Dr Caroline Johnson, who is still a consultant paediatrician and has been helping out with the vaccination programme over the last few months when she can spoke as the House of Commons agreed to press forward with the scheme to give jabs to children aged 12-15 after all four UK Chief Medical Officers supported the move to ensure children and families’ lives suffer less disruption and isolation due to infections, as well as curbing the spread of infection over winter months.

Some children have been known to catch the virus on two or three occasions in the last year and there have been examples of teens suffering the effects of ‘long covid’.

The jabs will still need parental consent.

Dr Johnson said: “I have given many vaccines in my time, including hundreds of covid vaccines more recently, but I am not comfortable with vaccinating teenagers to prevent educational disruption.

“Under the current rules, no child needs to isolate if they are a contact. They do so only if they are a positive case and, for them, the maximum is eight days of schooling — and that is only if they catch coronavirus during term time. “Half of children have already had it and are very unlikely to get it again. Does the Minister therefore really believe that vaccinating three million children to prevent an average of four days or less off school is reasonable?”

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi, who is a Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care thanked Dr Johnson for the work she has done and continues to do on the vaccination programme, but said: “All I would say to her is that I think it is important that the Government accept the final decision — the unanimous decision — of the four chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and offer the vaccine. Of course, parental consent will be sought, but it is only right that we offer the one-dose vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds as per the advice received today.”