College response on Covid vaccines for children and young people aged 12 and over

The College has issued the following statement, in response to the Chief Medical Officer’s decision to extend the Covid vaccination programme to children and young people aged 12 and over.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and a GP in East London, said: “The Covid vaccination programme has been a game changer in overcoming this virus and the response from the public - and the hardworking GP teams who have delivered it - has been phenomenal.

“Whereas the evidence for previous groups has been clear, the clinical risks and benefits of vaccination for this group are much more finely balanced. The decision to vaccinate children should be an individual one made by parents and their children and it is essential that they are supported to understand the pros and cons and to make an informed choice. However, we would encourage children and their parents to consider the potential benefits that vaccination can bring, both in terms of their individual health, and looking at wider factors such as schooling.

“It is important that parents, children and young people are not pressurised into a decision or castigated for it, whether they opt for the vaccine or not.

“There is still a sizeable minority of adults who have yet to receive a first dose and we are particularly concerned about the numbers of unvaccinated patients being admitted to hospital with Covid or other conditions. Every effort must be made to encourage these adults to have the vaccine as a priority.”

Further information

(For media only)

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.