Commenting on the guidance
published today for schools on the coronavirus vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We welcome the fact that this guidance makes it clear that legal accountability for offering Covid-19 vaccines to children and young people sits with the School Age Immunisation Service and not with schools. We had asked for the government to make this clear in its guidance because many of our members have been receiving letters from various pressure groups threatening schools and colleges with legal action if they take part in any Covid vaccination programme. We are pleased that the government has responded in this way and we would ask that these pressure groups cease this activity.
“It is also clear from the guidance that the role of schools will be limited to hosting these sessions and providing and sharing associated communications, with the vaccines administered by healthcare staff, as is normal with school-based vaccinations. The guidance is absolutely clear that schools are not responsible for mediating between parents and children who may disagree about whether or not to consent. This is the role of registered nurses in the School Age Immunisation Service.
“We are very concerned about the possibility of protests being held outside schools, and we are pleased to see that the guidance references this and provides advice about how to respond to this threat. Frankly, however, it is a sorry state of affairs if any individuals or groups think it is helpful in any way to stage a protest outside a school over a vaccine programme which is designed to help reduce educational disruption and which seems to us to be in the best interests of children and young people. We implore people not to stage such protests.”