Opportunity binge

The groupthink on jabs is just confusing parents

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If the top virologists and epidemiologists in the country manifest signs of vaccine hesitancy, then parents can surely be forgiven for exercising caution. They do not deserve to be chastised, let alone coerced, by a Government which ignored the advice of its own expert committee.

As Lisa on Twitter put it, responding to the Secretaries of State: “Thank you for your letter today. My kids don’t need a vaccine. They need you to put their education first so they can learn what myocarditis is and what a 99.98 per cent survival rate means. Regards, Awake Mum.”

With such a vast backlog of cases, not a single NHS member of staff should be wasting their time jabbing healthy youngsters. I am appalled that, in addition to the £12.58 fee for administration of a Covid jab, vaccinators get a cash bonus of £10 for giving a dose “to eligible patients aged 12 to 15 years old”. Why on earth would you need to incentivise people to jab children?

Only a few months ago, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert said that the UK should not start vaccinating teenagers against Covid because poorer countries needed the spare doses more. Protecting children should not be a priority given that they “rarely become seriously ill from coronavirus”.

I mean, what does Dame Sarah’s opinion matter compared to that of Messrs Javid and Zahawi? She only created the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Let’s give the final word to a despairing parent. He emailed Planet Normal yesterday to say that his son’s private school has locked down an entire house of 50 boys because they’d had a “spike” in positive LFTs. None has been confirmed by PCR. “My son is now confined to his room for 48 hours, including eating meals there, with the opportunity to go out into the garden only for short periods if the weather allows. He has had Covid, has dutifully had one vaccination and has no symptoms whatsoever. Is this a proportionate response to a virus that barely affects children?

“The fearmongering perpetuated by the Government and the media trickles down and continues unabated. At this rate, his already too long two-week half-term will morph into three. Our boy is of course extremely lucky compared to many, but the impact on mental wellbeing is immense, not to mention the lost learning.”

If I was asked to predict “big mistakes” made by the Government which will be criticised by a future report, well, here they are. Enough of the nerdy groupthink. Please leave our children alone. They’ve suffered enough.

Listen to Allison Pearson and fellow columnist Liam Halligan on The Telegraph’s Planet Normal podcast, featuring news and views from beyond the bubble, on the audio player below, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your preferred podcast app

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