COVID-19: Parental consent will be needed if 12 to 15-year-olds are offered a vaccine, Nadhim Zahawi says

No decision has been made on whether to offer coronavirus jabs to all 12 to 15-year-olds, the vaccines minister has told Sky News.

Speaking to Trevor Phillips On Sunday, Nadhim Zahawi said parents of children in this age group will need to give their consent if a rollout takes place.

He also confirmed that vaccine passports will be introduced for large venues – and it is hoped this will prevent further closures this winter.

On the issue of whether healthy 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered a vaccine, Mr Zahawi said: “We have not made any decisions, so we haven’t decided not to listen to the experts.

“On the contrary, all four ministers, the secretary of state Sajid Javid and his fellow ministers in the devolved administrations have agreed to ask the chief medical officers to convene expert groups, including the JCVI being in that, to be able to recommend which way we should go.”

The minister also said checking people’s vaccine status is the “right thing to do” to ensure the whole economy remains open.

Asked if he has made up his mind about vaccine passports, Mr Zahawi said: “We are looking at, by the end of September when everyone has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, for the large venues, venues that could end up causing a real spike in infections, where we need to use the certification process.

“If you look at what the FA (Football Association) have done, they’ve done so brilliantly in terms of checking vaccine status to reopen football.

“That is the sort of right thing to do and we are absolutely on track to continue to make sure that we do that.

“There’s a reason for that… the reason being is that, I, as does the prime minister, want to make sure the whole economy remains open.

“The worst thing we can do for those venues is to have a sort of open-shut-open-shut strategy because we see infection rates rise because of the close interaction of people, that’s how the virus spreads, if people are in close spaces in large numbers we see spikes appearing.

“The best thing to do then is to work with the industry to make sure that they can open safely and sustainably in the long term, and the best way to do that is to check vaccine status.”

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