Firstly can we just say a MASSIVE well done to everyone who has been copying our letter and sending. We have already had a number of responses and many of those who received them did actually voice concerns to the points that we raised.
One of our supporters has had a MASSIVE breakthrough with Dominic Raab responding. What this shows is that these hard hitting letters merit a response but unfortunately for Dominic Raab he is proceeding with a criminal activity which we warned him not to! We now have clear evidence that he has read and replied to our response which is very important for our future fight.
Below is his response:
Thank you for contacting me about children and the COVID-19 vaccine. I appreciate your concerns.
The likelihood of children having significant detriment if they catch COVID-19 is thankfully very low. The AstraZeneca vaccine is still only approved for use in over-18s, however the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved for use in all those over 12.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has carefully reviewed clinical trial data in children aged 12 to 15 years and has concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk. I can reassure you that no extension to an authorisation would be approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met and I am satisfied that these standards have been met.
As you may be aware, following JCVI advice and careful assessment of safety data from the UK and other countries, the offer of vaccination was extended to all 16 and 17 year olds.
Additionally, children at increased risk of serious COVID-19 disease, including children aged 12 to 15 with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities are eligible for vaccination. Children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person are also eligible.
The JCVI has recently provided updated advice on universal vaccination of 12-15 year olds. They have assessed that the health benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms. However, the margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal vaccination of healthy 12 to 15 year olds at this time. It is not within the JCVI’s remit to consider the wider societal impacts of vaccination, including educational benefits, so it was recommended that wider advice was sought from the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) of the UK's four nations. The Secretary of State has written to the CMO to ask that they consider the vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds from a broader perspective, as suggested by the JCVI. The government will then consider this advice, alongside the JCVI's advice, before making a decision. The government looks forward to seeing the advice from the CMOs and will await this advice before taking a view on this matter.
Given the success of the rollout amongst adults, it is possible to take a more precautionary approach to rollout among younger people. This means that first doses will be prioritised and recommendations on the second dose will be delayed to allow the JCVI to provide the best available advice with the latest information for the second dose. I welcome this approach, which will ensure younger people are provided with some immediate protection from severe disease. I understand that the aim is for the second dose to be given later as this will extend protection for a longer period, however further data and the potential availability of alternative vaccine options will inform exact details which will be set out in due course.
It is important to weigh up the benefits of vaccination against any possible, though extremely rare, side effects and the government is satisfied that the JCVI has done just that when giving their latest advice. Advice provided by the independent JCVI has been invaluable in ensuring a safe, effective and successful vaccination programme. While COVID-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in most young people, it can be very unpleasant for some and for this particular age group, it is expected that one dose of vaccine will provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.
Those aged 16 and 17 do not need the consent of their parents to receive a COVID vaccination. This is because, in the UK a person who is 16 years and above is deemed able to consent for themselves, and if they are competent and able to consent for themselves then that consent holds. This is the case for all medical treatment. More information on consent and NHS treatment can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/consent-to-treatment/children/
In the UK we operate a system of informed consent for vaccinations, meaning that we provide as much information as possible about vaccines to individuals, who must then consent for themselves to receive the dose. Except in exceptional circumstances, no vaccine in this country is compulsory: you are right that it is up to an individual whether to receive a vaccine. That being said, the COVID-19 vaccine is saving lives and is clearly effective in reducing deaths and hospitalisations. It is vital that everyone who is eligible receives the vaccine to protect themselves, their community and the country as we work to defeat this virus. If you need any more information about vaccination, I would recommend visiting the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me on this important issue.
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