Vaccines for under-18s must be led by science and not politicians – The Yorkshire Post says

IT beggars belief that the Government’s communications over the Covid pandemic are so haphazard – and mistrusted by so many – when Ministers have so many press officers, and advisers, at their disposal.

First Dominic Cummings and his lockdown trip to Durham. Then the disgraced Matt Hancock’s downfall. Now the fallout after Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak tried to exempt themselves from self-isolation rules.

Taken together, these double standards help explain why the Government is struggling to convince younger people to have Covid vaccines in sufficient numbers to suppress the virus still further.

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And, as moves begin to make the jab available to clinically vulnerable youngsters, including those aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, and all teenagers approaching their 18th birthday, this process and debate should be led by the UK’s world-leading scientists.

Handout photo issued by NHS England of Andrea Brighenti receiving a vaccination at a Covid-19 vaccination centre inside the Primark Bristol store.

They’re the people who will be able to give parents the answers, and reassurances, that they will seek, and with good reason, because nothing is more important to them than the health of their children.

Acutely aware of past controversies over the MMR vaccine, it’s only a matter of weeks since the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said adults under the age of 40 should be given an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to a link with rare blood clots.

Now, while the risks were very small, the JCVI ruled that it was duty-bound to place a high premium on safety. It’s the same with vaccinating the under-18s – science, and scientists, must take precedence over politics, and politicians, if a convincing case is to be made that assuages the concerns of parents which are far more legitimate than the more nefarious conspiracy theories being spread on the internet, and which also thrive on Downing Street’s hypocrisy.

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Handout photo issued by NHS England of Alexandria Smith receiving a vaccination at a Covid-19 vaccination centre inside the Primark Bristol store.