WHEN the announcement was made that the UK’s chief medical officers, including our own, favoured vaccinating the 12-15 age group, the airwaves fair hummed with debate.

One exchange in particular flagged up the knotty ethical problems any policy like this inevitably throws up.

The interviewer was tackling the UK vaccines minister. She was fixated on the thought that a 12-year-old child who wanted the jag could be vaccinated, even though her parents disapproved.

A few thoughts occur. This has always been the case with vaccines of any type, though it’s rare to find families still at an impasse once they’ve all been given proper information and clinical guidance.

Also, 12-year-olds vary immensely in their capacity to deal with any cost-benefit analysis, just as all age groups do. Neither can we make the assumption that all “grown ups” know better than their weans.

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If a young person is in a family where his or her parents are in thrall to ever more ditzy conspiracy theories, then I see no reason why their health should be put at risk for no better reason than their carers have become addicted to stupid pills.

Every shred of empirical evidence points to the conclusion that to be vaccinated makes you safer, makes your family safer, and helps reduce transmission. A hospital doctor tweeted this week that he’d just come off back to back shifts utterly exhausted by having to deal with seven Covid deaths. None of them in people who had been vaccinated.

Add in the fact that increasingly this horrible strain seems to be attacking much younger age groups, and that spikes seem to follow school terms beginning again, and you can see why the CMOs felt able to take a broader view than the vaccination committee.

Not least in terms of the impact on our young folk of losing out on education, social interaction, and all the things that make your first years at secondary school so much more fun than being locked down in your own home.

Our kids have had to make a lot of sacrifices to keep the rest of us safer. Time to return the compliment.