‘Local doctors back jab choice for younger teens’

LOCAL doctors are supportive of younger teenagers having the choice to be vaccinated, local BMA press officer Mat Dorrian has said.

Local BMA press officer Dr Matt Dorrian. (30018063)
Local BMA press officer Dr Matt Dorrian. (30018063)

It was announced this week that local 12- to 15-year-olds will have the option to have one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. This follows similar moves in the UK and Jersey.

It has caused some controversy because younger teenagers are unlikely to get seriously ill with Covid but there is a very small chance they could suffer rare side effects from the vaccine.

PEH emergency department doctor Scott Mitchell has resigned due to his concerns over the move.

Dr Dorrian said Dr Mitchell had a right to his opinion, but overall local doctors were behind younger teenagers having the choice to be vaccinated and understood the reasoning about using the vaccine to reduce disruption.

‘From the BMA’s perspective, the immunisation programme has been a fantastic success,’ he said.

‘The immunisation of children has been a prolonged and difficult decision to make and that is not a problem that is unique to Guernsey. It has been decided now for a combination of reasons.’

Health & Social Care did not respond to a query asking whether other doctors had been raising concerns over the decision.

Dr Dorrian said he was not aware of a groundswell of discontent over the issue.

‘The BMA was keen that it was a choice,’ he said.

‘It is against anyone being stigmatised if they choose not to be vaccinated. The BMA is fully supportive of the local decision.’

He added that another important aspect was that the full details about how the decision was reached were freely available.

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation did not recommend that this age group be vaccinated and its reasonings are available online.

The UK’s chief medical officers took a different stance, looking at disruption to education and other aspects, as well as the health benefits of vaccinating, and these details are also freely available.

‘There is no lack of transparency,’ Dr Dorrian said.

Vaccinations for this age group will take place at Beau Sejour, rather than at school, in special vaccination sessions. Invitation letters will be sent out in due course.

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