Mother's bid to suspend rollout of Covid jab to her children failedOctober 1, 2021
Mother’s bid to suspend the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine to her children has failed in the High Court
- Mother lost a High Court bid to suspend the rollout of Covid vaccine to under 18s
- A judge dismissed her request for an injunction pausing the distribution of jabs
- She claimed she faces ‘victimisation’ for not allowing her kids to be vaccinated
A mother has lost a High Court bid to suspend the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine to those under 18, including her two children.
A judge dismissed the woman’s request for an injunction pausing the distribution of jabs as part of her legal challenge over vaccines being offered to those aged 12 to 17.
The mother-of-two, acting on behalf of her children who cannot be named, brought her case against the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The mother, who does not intend to allow her children to be vaccinated, claimed she faces ‘pressure from teachers, victimisation and bullying if her children do not take the vaccine’.
Lawyers for the mother argued it would ‘irrational’ for the Government to say there was a ‘public health crisis for children’ and to ‘implement a mass vaccination campaign for healthy children’.
But Mr Justice Jay refused her bid to suspend the vaccine rollout to under 18s and her request to seek a judicial review of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s authorisation of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for teenagers.
A judge dismissed the a mother’s request for an injunction pausing the distribution of jabs as part of her legal challenge over vaccines being offered to those aged 12 to 17 (stock image)
Giving judgment in London on Friday afternoon, the judge also adjourned a decision on the woman’s challenge over the Government’s decision to offer jabs to 12 to 17-year-olds to a later date.
Lawyers for the mother claimed Covid poses an ‘exceptionally low risk’ to those aged 12 to 17, which are the focus of the legal challenge, and ‘healthy children have no need’ of the jabs.
In previous arguments, they claimed that available evidence mean ‘no reasonable decision maker’ could have authorised the vaccines or their rollout for under-18s.
A vaccination programme for 16 and 17-year-olds has been running since August 5 following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Last month, the UK’s four chief medical officers (CMOs) announced that children aged 12 to 15 should be offered a first dose of the vaccine.
Ewan West, the DHSC’s barrister, said in written arguments it is ‘clear’ the MHRA, the JCVI and the CMOs ‘have taken a wide range of data into account, have carefully weighed it, and reached a balanced view’.
He added: ‘The claimants do not agree that the balance has been correctly placed; but that disagreement does not render it unlawful.’
Mr West argued the ongoing vaccine programme is ‘entirely voluntary’ and ‘there is no question of mandatory vaccination for the two children on whose behalf the claim is brought, or any other children’.
The mother, who does not intend to allow her children to be vaccinated, claimed she faces ‘victimisation and bullying if her children do not take the vaccine’ (stock image)
He also warned an injunction would mean public health benefits ‘will be delayed, and in some instances lost’.
Last month, Covid vaccines were being given to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in schools across Britain for the first time.
A single dose of Pfizer’s jab is being used in the hope that the roll-out will prevent further disruptions to their education.
Parental consent is being sought but children can overrule parents who do not want them to get the jab if deemed ‘competent’, in a move that has caused controversy.
More than 3million under-16s are eligible for the vaccines and ministers expect at least 60 per cent to take up the offer.
The scientific community has been split over vaccinating healthy children against Covid because the virus poses such a low risk to them.
No10’s own advisory panel said earlier this month that immunising them would only provide ‘marginal’ benefit to their health, and not enough to advise a mass rollout.
But Professor Chris Whitty and the chief medical officers in the devolved nations came down in favour of expanding the inoculation drive after weighing up the wider benefits to children.
They said hundreds of thousands of school absences could be prevented and school closures averted if there was good uptake of the vaccines.
The roll-out in England will primarily be done in schools through the in-school vaccination service teams that already carry out routine vaccine programmes for illnesses like flu.
Schools will be used as a site for administering the vaccines and distributing consent and information forms to pupils and guardians.
Teachers have been told not to hesitate in phoning police to deal with anti-Covid vaccine campaigners amid fears of protests at school gates over the rollout.
Acontroversial study has suggested that giving 12 to 17 year olds two doses of a Covid vaccine would prevent thousands from being hospitalised with the virus this autumn. The study said that the benefit of double-dosing outweighed the risks (shown here)
The latest study estimated that if Covid cases in secondary schools continue at their current rate, then a two-dose regimen could prevent 4,430 admissions and 36 deaths in teens compared to a single injection
Meanwhile, a controversial study has suggested that giving 12 to 17 year olds two doses of a Covid vaccine would prevent thousands from being hospitalised with the virus this autumn.
Experts behind the research have called for the UK to reconsider its current roll-out, which will see youngsters only given a single Pfizer jab.
Health officials have held back on recommending the full course because of the very rare risk of heart inflammation associated with the second shot.
The study looked at rates of Covid infection, hospital admission and death among teenagers in previous waves of the pandemic in the UK.
It estimated that if Covid cases in secondary schools continue at their current rate, then a two-dose regimen could prevent 4,430 admissions and 36 deaths in teens compared to a single injection.
The team of researchers, led by Queen Mary University, insisted this benefit ‘clearly’ outweighed the small risk of myocarditis, which affects about one in 10,000 and is usually mild.
They claimed the risk would only outweigh the benefit of vaccination if infection rates in teens were to suddenly drop to tiny levels.
While most patients who develop myocarditis after their jab suffer only a mild bout of the disease, scientists are still unsure about the long term consequences of the inflammation of the heart.
Academics today hit back at the ‘questionable’ findings of the study, which failed to differentiate between the Covid risk to healthy and vulnerable children.
The analysis was carried out by several members of Independent SAGE and is published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
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