In debate on 13 September, I questioned the delay in vaccinating 12 -15 year olds, as determined by #JCVI. #VaccinatingTeens earlier might have had less impact on their #education, #socialisation, and/or #longCOVID.
I, too, welcome the decision to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds. Scotland’s NHS is also primed to deliver vaccinations as quickly as possible, but it is a pity that there was a delay and that the opportunity to vaccinate during the summer holidays was missed. In Scotland, where our schools went back before English schools, we have seen a huge surge, and we are seeing the same rise in Northern Ireland and Wales. That may happen here as well.
I wonder how much of the delay was down to the remit given to the JCVI, which seemed to focus on hospitalisation and death—quite rare, thankfully, among children—rather than considering the wider impacts of education and socialisation loss or of long covid, which we are seeing in young people and children. Was the delay about the remit? Was the JCVI given a narrow remit? Or was it about whether Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would be sufficient to allow the group to have been vaccinated in the summer?
There are rumours that there will be a U-turn tonight on yesterday’s U-turn on vaccine passports. I would be grateful for the Minister clarifying that. Whether that is the case or not, this chaos undermines public health messaging, creates confusion among the public and creates rejection of whatever decision finally comes.