A BARNSLEY MP has called on the government to not act politically when it comes to offering youngsters the jab - after an advisory committee voted against the mass vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) expressed that it would recommend against the vaccination of youngsters.
The committee said: “The margin of benefit, based primarily on a health perspective, is considered too small to support advice on a programme of vaccination.”
Miriam Cates, the town’s only Tory MP, believes if her party are ‘following the science’ - as they have done in the past - they should stick to the JCVI’s assessment and to do anything else would only be a political decision.
She said: “If we were following the science, we would accept the JCVI assessment.
“We did for all other cohorts, and have repeatedly defended the independence of the JCVI.
“It made its decisions based on the benefits of vaccination to the individuals in question in relation to the risk the virus posed to their health.
“That is why we prioritised the elderly and vulnerable in our initial vaccination programme, and why children with underlying health conditions are already offered the vaccine.
“A decision to go against the JCVI’s recommendations on this occasion would be a political one, and for that to happen when it is the health of our children in question would be unprecedented.”
The JCVI also stated that ‘the benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms but there is considerable uncertainty regarding the magnitude of potential harms’.
Due to the lack of data in young people’s reaction to the vaccine, the Penistone and Stocksbridge MP believes any decision should be based on the benefit to their health.
“Covid-19 has been shown to pose a significant risk of severe illness or death to the over-60s, and so it’s extremely important for them to be vaccinated against it,” she added.
“We also know that the risk from Covid-19 is directly related to age, so that the balance of risk is much reduced for healthy young people.
“Coronavirus poses almost no serious risk to children - not a single previously healthy under 15-year-old has died from Covid-19 in the UK.
“Similarly, diseases such as measles, smallpox, and meningitis were some of the biggest contributors to child mortality in history, and countless lives have been saved by vaccinating children against them.”
Kids returned to school earlier this month and Miriam says that the effect of vaccinations on possible school closures is ‘not a medical decision’ and ‘should not be a factor in deciding what is in the best medical interests of a child’.
She added: “Closing schools or sending groups of children home in response to Covid-19 is not an inevitable consequence of not vaccinating children.
“Instead, it is a decision taken by politicians and one that need not be made.
“I have therefore written to the Chief Medical Officer along with colleagues to urge him to focus solely on the question from a medical perspective, and not what it may mean for various political choices that might result from it.”