Covid jabs to be given to 12 to 15-year-olds in North Staffordshire from next week


Pupils will begin having Covid jabs in schools across North Staffordshire next week despite some families remaining anxious about the vaccinations.

The Government has agreed to offer the vaccine to all 12 to 15-year-olds after receiving advice from the four chief medical officers across the UK.

Experts say that, while the health benefits to individual pupils are ‘marginal’, it will help to reduce disruption to their education and improve their mental well-being.

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Many parents have already discussed the issue with their children and have come to a joint decision over whether to go ahead with the jabs.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) has confirmed it will start the roll-out in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire schools from September 27. Healthy under-16s will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine between next week and mid-November.

In a statement, the trust said: “Covid vaccines will be provided by nurses within the school aged immunisation team, who will be visiting all schools with pupils aged 12 to 15.

“Visits from the school aged immunisation team will take place according to a schedule agreed with schools.

“Pupils will receive a date for their vaccination appointment and parental consent will be required. Appropriate consent forms will be sent out via schools.”

Nationally, if a parent and child disagree on whether to have the Covid jab, mediation can be offered. Ultimately, a young person can over-ride the wishes of their parents if they are deemed ‘Gillick competent’ – having the capacity to make the decision themselves.

But Dr Paddy Hannigan, clinical lead for the vaccination programme in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, said this could involve quite ‘complex conversations’.

He gave Staffordshire County Council’s health and care overview and scrutiny committee an update on the issue yesterday (Monday).



Dr Paddy Hannigan

Dr Hannigan said: “What we are going to do locally is we are not going to offer vaccinations to any child in the absence of positive parental consent at the initial visits.

“What we will do if children express an interest in being vaccinated, either in the absence of parental consent or if a parent says no, we would offer a subsequent appointment, where we will invite the child, parent and one of our clinicians to have that conversation.

“We hope that will defuse any concern from parents that they can send their kids to school.”

Anyone who misses their vaccination slot as they are off ill on that day will have another chance to be jabbed at a ‘mop-up’ clinic in November.

A straw poll on StokeonTrentLive’s Facebook page found differing views from parents.

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Nikki McKenzie has already discussed the issue with her daughter. She said: “She wants to have it and I’m quite happy for her to.”

Sophie Davis Brookes added: “My 17-year-old had it as soon as she could and my 15-year-old will be having it. They have both made this choice themselves.”

But Shaun Machin is among the parents to have misgivings. He said: “Not a chance are any of my kids having that experimental vaccine.”

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