A 12-year-old's view: 'I would take the vaccine, with my parents' support'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches as an NHS staff member receives the vaccine at Chase Farm Hospital

Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches as an NHS staff member receives the vaccine at Chase Farm Hospital - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Recently the government has announced that it will be offering the Covid-19 vaccination to young people in England aged 12 to 15.

When we first got the vaccine, it was regarded as a miracle because of the short amount of time it took for scientist to deconstruct the virus and create an effective vaccine. 

Although over two thirds of the population in England have been fully vaccinated and more than 48 million people have had their first dose – and hospitalisation has fallen – there has still been some controversy concerning the vaccine and whether children should be able to make their own decision.

As a 12-year-old, I can sense that some of my peers doubt their maturity. They tend to think that their parents are more qualified to make the ultimate decision on whether or not they should get the Covid-19 vaccination.

Teenagers do not have the power or decision to go on a school trip without parental consent in some form. Yet, we have the opportunity to refuse vaccines that ultimately might change our lives and that of others.

Children are allowed to overrule their parents due to the Gillick competence test. This test ensures that under-16s are allowed to make their own decision, about various situations, based on their mental competence and understanding.

But what is competent child?

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Mental health issues in young people have increase substantially especially because of the pandemic. Some young people have been suffering from depression, social anxiety, and having suicidal thoughts.  At this particular time, can they really comprehend what is best for them?  

As a 12-year-old I do not feel competent enough to make my own decision about the coronavirus vaccine jab without my parent's input and consent.

There will always be people who don’t get the vaccine due to their personal beliefs whether it's media related or simply a bias.

I can understand why people of certain communities are reluctant to get the vaccine, when you look at the historical medical abuse inflicted on BAME communities.

Whilst I understand that medical racism has not disappeared, we have to acknowledge that society would now frown upon such abuse. We must look at how far we have journeyed.

I am not justifying the situations simply saying that we need to think about what is right and what is safe.

Ultimately, the important thing is saving people’s lives and those of our loved ones, in whichever way you can contribute and in whichever way you can support the people who are being affected by this pandemic.

I would take the vaccine because that is what is right for me and my loved ones.

Melissa is a 12-year-old from north London.

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