Earlier this week, the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment gave a statement on the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations to 12-15 year following the government's announcement that the government had accepted the recommendations of the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers.
Young people aged 12 to 15 will be invited to receive one Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine dose from next week. Parental, guardian, or carer consent will be sought in line with existing programmes.
If no consent from a parent has been received, but the young person wants to be vaccinated and is judged to be "Gillick competent" by the the healthcare professional, the young person can still be vaccinated. In this case, the school age immunisation service provider will make every effort to contact a parent, to try and reach agreement between the parent and young person. However, the parent cannot overrule the decision of a Gillick competent young person.
MP for North East Bedfordshire, Richard Fuller, asked the Minister a question on Gillick competence. This can be watched here.
Speaking after his intervention, Richard said:
Gillick competence is a long-standing mechanism for determining whether children under the age of 16 are able to make informed decisions about medical treatment that they receive.
Given the issues of pressure and peer pressure that may arise from this vaccination and that we have had only a few months to understand the implications of this vaccine for people’s long-term health, I questioned the Vaccines Minister as to whether Gillick competence is appropriate in the context of vaccinations for 12-15 year-olds, and whether the government has conducted a full legal assessment of the implications.
More information for parents, including Gillick competence, can be found here.