Group opposed to Covid jab for teenagers protests outside Burnley school

A group of protesters opposed to vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 15 against Covid-19 gathered outside a Burnley school this morning, and plan to do the same at other sites throughout the week.

The group from Burnley met outside Unity College this morning with placards detailing their opposition to the news that the Government is considering vaccinating 12 to 15 year-olds in UK schools, despite the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) earlier advising against it.

And the individuals, who say they are not anti-vax, have promised to hold further demonstrations outside other Burnley schools and public places throughout the week.

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One of the protesters, Dave Burnett, from Burnley, said: "I am not an anti-vaxxer, I've had lots of vaccinations in the past, including the flu jab, but I am definitely anti this Covid vaccine.

The group

"I understand that if adults want to take this vaccination that is up to them, but however I am definitely opposed to it being given to school age children. The government's own advisers, the JCVI, even advised against it and yet it appears the government is going to over-ride that recommendation.

"It is absolute madness. This vaccine rollout is a medical experiment, it is still in clinical trials. Children are at zero risk of dying from Covid so we should not be giving them this vaccine, which carries the risk of serious side-effects.

"I am also concerned that parental consent may also be over-ruled."

Mr Burnett said he and his group received a "mixed response" from parents dropping their children off at Unity College this morning and from passers-by, with one parent saying "they should not be scaring children."

Dave Burnett

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, the health secretary, and his counterparts in the rest of the UK wrote to the chief medical officers in their countries, asking them to “consider the matter from a broader perspective” following the JCVI's announcement.

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And Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he was pleased that “the door appears to have been left open” for the government to go ahead with vaccinations for more school-age children.

A number of countries across Europe have already started vaccinating secondary school age children.

Professor Chris Whitty and other chief medical officers in the UK are reviewing the benefits of vaccinating the age group, such as minimising disruption to schools, and are expected to announce their views soon.