14th September, 2021 – The Social Democratic Party (SDP) today announces its opposition to the government’s plans to proceed with a vaccination programme for healthy children aged 12 to 15.
Earlier this month the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) concluded that while the health benefits from vaccination among children aged 12 to 15 are marginally greater than potential known harms, the margin of benefit is too small to support such a move. Despite this, the government and the Chief Medical Officer have chosen to set aside the JCVI’s advice.
The justification for this decision – namely, to reduce educational disruption – is spurious. Given the UK’s successful adult vaccination roll-out there is now no reason to further disrupt the education of the young on any basis, given that young people’s risk profile is so low and all the adult population has had a chance to embrace vaccination. The marginal benefit of vaccination for children indicates that, evidently, this decision is not being taken in the interests of children.
Additionally, the prospect of children being vaccinated without parental consent is a serious violation of parental authority and undermines the relationship between the family and the state. It also places undue responsibility on the children concerned and, indeed, runs contrary to all precedents regarding respect for the authority of the family in domestic life.
SDP Leader William Clouston says: “For the state to ask a 12 year old to deliberate – without parental consent – on a matter as important as personal vaccination is totally unacceptable. The latest ONS data shows that vaccinations have been highly effective among the adult population, rendering this move pointless. It’s time to live without the spectre of emergency measures and stop undermining our civil liberties – we need to take the win, open up society, and move on.”