One of the reasons why Britain’s vaccination programme has been so successful is that the bulk of the population has been convinced that it is safe. Throughout the accelerated research and the rollout, safety has been the paramount consideration under which everyone concerned, including ministers and public health officials, has operated.
As rare complications emerged, they were handled with an abundance of caution. Younger people were thus offered the option of a vaccine other than the still highly effective AstraZeneca jab. The experts were open and transparent about what was happening. Thus, those who propagated the wild conspiracy theories – and not always with the best of motives – consistently lost the argument.
In no circumstances is it more important to follow a “safety first” principle than in those which involve children. Below the age of consent, they cannot competently assess their options – or at least, not to a legally secure standard – and parents have to bear an enormous responsibility in weighing the risks and benefits of vaccinations (as with many other interventions).
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