Parents of healthy 12 to 15-year-olds will be asked for consent if Covid jabs are approved for their children.
However, Nadhim Zahawi has admitted the youngsters could go against their parents’ wishes “if they’re deemed to be competent to make that decision with all the information available”.
The vaccines minister told Times Radio: “What you essentially do is make sure that the clinicians discuss this with the parents, with the teenager, and if they are then deemed to be able to make a decision that is competent, then that decision will go in the favour of what the teenager decides to do.”
However Mr Zahawi also told Sky News that he could guarantee parental consent would be required.
“I can give that assurance, absolutely,” he said.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) ruled that there was some benefit to children’s health for over 12s to get the vaccine.
But it decided against backing a national rollout on health grounds alone because the virus presents a low risk to younger teenagers.
It will be down to them to make the final call and their findings are expected to be announced within days.
Ministers have indicated they are keen to authorise a wider rollout although Dowining Street is awaiting their advice before making a final decision.
On Friday, the JCVI approved a widening of the vaccination programme to another 200,000 children aged between 12 and 15 who have underlying health conditions.
While the condition can result in short periods of hospital observation, followed by typically swift recoveries, the JCVI concluded that the medium to long-term outcomes are still uncertain and more follow-up time is needed to get a clearer picture.
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