Statement on vaccination of children

Voice Section Council has determined to support the vaccination of children aged 12-15 in order to keep members safe and to reduce the potential for disruption to children’s learning. 

Following its meeting on 25 September 2021, Community Union’s Voice Section Council has determined to support the vaccination of children aged 12-15 in order to keep members safe and to reduce the potential for disruption to children’s learning, including the necessity to close schools.  

 Assistant General Secretary of Community Union (Voice Section), Deborah Lawson said:  

“The Department for Health and Social Care has confirmed that healthy school-aged children aged 12 to 15 will primarily receive their COVID-19 vaccination in their schools through the schools-based vaccination programme - the same system used for vaccinations including for HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP).    

“We have sought clarification around the role of schools, and staff and can confirm that administration of vaccines will be undertaken by trained teams from the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS).  Although schools will host immunisation services, they are not responsible for securing parental or child consent.  Legal accountability for offering COVID-19 vaccines to children and young people sits with the SAIS and DHSC, not with the school.  And parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes.  

"Teachers and support staff will not be involved in the vaccination programme however, it is reasonable to be asked to undertake normal duties such as supervision of children.  It is reasonable for you to be asked to supervise a line of pupils waiting to be vaccinated.  Should you be asked to supervise children off site, this is also reasonable, as these duties fall within the remit of school staff.   If you were unable to supervise the children queuing for vaccination, it would be reasonable for you to supervise children in class, or to cover for colleagues during this process.  

"Should there be any disruption outside or around the site as a result of the vaccination programme it is important that members do not do anything to endanger themselves or the pupils.  They should not engage with protesters. 

"Should members find themselves unable to access their workplace they must telephone their employer to inform them of the fact.  Any violence or threatening and intimidating behaviour must be reported to the police.  

"Furthermore, as stated in the Teachers' Professional Standards, it is important that school staff 'observe proper boundaries ... show tolerance of and respect for the rights of others … [and] ensure that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerabilities'. Therefore, we advise members not to share their views about vaccination with their pupils."  

Further information

England (DHSC): Watch CMO Professor Chris Whitty explain how this vaccination process will be the same as existing school vaccination programmes.

England (DfE):  NHS to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to 12- to 15-year-olds: your questions answered

Scottish Government:

Letter: Protecting schools and pupils from misleading information about the COVID vaccination programme (pdf)

Northern Ireland (October 2021):

PHA: Contact tracing in schools and other structured and supervised settings – Questions and Answers

DoH: Guidance materials on school age vaccination published  06 October 2021

Voice Community:

COVID-19 FAQs

Education Policy Podcast for England 7: September 2021

www.voicetheunion.org.uk/coronavirus

 

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