Commenting on the decision of the Chief Medical Officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to recommend the vaccination of 12-15 year olds, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"The decision by the Chief Medical Officers to encourage the take up of vaccinations by 12-15 year olds will be another tool to help pupils sustain their access to education throughout the autumn and winter.
"While we recognise that a decision on vaccinating children needed careful evidential judgement, it would have been better if a decision could have been made earlier during the summer holidays. It will now be well into the autumn before the impact of the vaccination programme will be felt. Schools must be given timely and clear guidance for the next steps. It is an NHS responsibility to carry out vaccinations on school sites, though schools are used to being sites for the vaccination program. And it is incumbent on the Department for Education to make clear and usable procedures for the necessary parental consent. This is not the time for yet more incoherent guidance from Government.
"While vaccination is not needed generally to protect children and young people from severe illness, it will suppress transmission, but it is not the only story. There is still an important role for other mitigations, particularly ventilation and face coverings. So far Government have been slow to roll out the promised CO2 monitors which will at least help schools and colleges to identify where ventilation is poor.”