Children, coercive consent & COVID-19 vaccines

Worrying misinformation directed at children

In among the Chief Medical Officers’ inexcusable and unexplainable decision last week to proceed with COVID-19 vaccination of 12-15 year-olds, there lurked a deeply disturbing paragraph

A child-centred approach to communication and deployment of the vaccine should be the primary objective”.

These words are a thinly disguised declaration of coercion of minors. Clear attempts are being made to sideline parental decision-making. 

The UK Health Security Agency, the replacement for Public Health England charged with being “responsible for preparing, preventing and responding to threats to the nation’s health” has produced an NHS vaccination consent form that ignores the principles of informed consent. One can only hope that this attempt to side-step the checks and balances that should be in place to protect children in our society will, one day, be used by future ethics committees as a case study on how not to do things.

As reported in the mainstream media, the consent forms have already been changed as they made untrue promises regarding ‘freedoms’ that may be bestowed on those willing to undergo the vaccination procedure. But this is nothing compared to the extraordinary statements left in. These forms contain statements that are painfully misleading and dangerously untrue:

  • “Coronavirus is an illness that lots of people are catching at the moment”. 
    • The illness is COVID-19, not ‘coronavirus’, which is a class of virus that humankind has co-existed with for centuries.
  • “One way to help you stay safe is to get a coronavirus vaccine”.
    • There is no convincing evidence to demonstrate this in children. The risk to children of coming to serious harm from being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is exceedingly low. In fact, writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Roland Salmon, retired Consultant (Medical) Epidemiologist and former Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, states that for COVID-19 vaccination “In children and young adults, the equation appears weighted towards risk”.
  • “It will take about 2 weeks for the vaccine to start working”
    • … in fact, during the first ten days after being vaccinated, you are slightly more likely to get infected by SARS-CoV-2. Not only are you therefore potentially more at risk, you are potentially more likely to transmit it to others during this time. Many papers have established this phenomenon as a fact, with debate continuing as to the reason why.[1,2,3]
  • “There is a small chance that you can still catch coronavirus if you have had the vaccine”.
    • The vaccine, in fact, does not stop people from getting ill with COVID-19 and infecting others with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 
  • “You can’t catch coronavirus directly from the vaccine”.
    • No, but there is a heavy correlation between vaccination followed by infection — likely due to (increasingly acknowledged) immune suppression [4] as the body responds to the vaccination.
  • “You may decide to have two vaccines to keep you as safe as possible”.
    • This is arguably one of most insidious pieces of misleading marketing in the whole document. While the mRNA vaccines were designed as a ‘two shot’ course, the JCVI has highlighted CDC data showing that young people are at elevated risk of severe adverse events after the second injection — presenting this as making a child “as safe as possible” is beyond contempt. 
    • In August, the JCVI therefore made a controversial decision to proceed with a single shot of the vaccine for 16-17 year olds, which is the approach being extended to younger teenagers. This is not how the vaccine was designed to be used. 
    • Invoking the idea that a child “may decide” to have this second injection is just plain wrong. There is no approval in place for this (due to the above-noted risks of adverse effects being greater than the potential benefit). The phrase used is therefore false marketing and arguably deceitful manipulation. 
    • There is also no mention of rare but more serious adverse effects being observed in children in countries that have vaccinated younger children already. These adverse effects include heart inflammation (myocarditis) and blood clots that could have life-long (as well as life-threatening) impacts. Pfizer is researching the impact of some of these adverse effects. For example, the cardiac adverse effects of concern will be monitored and Pfizer have committed to deliver to the FDA a final report by 30 September 2024. Given Dr Salmon’s comments above regarding the risks currently being greater than the benefits, it might be wise for children to wait until this report has been completed before considering whether to proceed to give consent for this vaccination.

There is also no mention of crucial matters, such as prior immunity. It is now well established that a previous COVID-19 infection results in broad and robust immunity, which appears to be better than that achieved by immunisation. Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, is of the view that at least half of young children have had COVID-19 (and it is likely that most have been exposed to it), therefore in this situation vaccination is likely to have an even lower benefit (yet without reducing the associated risks). 

HART is not alone in criticising the approach being taken by various individuals in government who seem intent on pushing through this policy of vaccinating children. A recent peer-reviewed paper in the journal ominously titled Toxicology Reports entitled “Why are we vaccinating children against COVID-19?” details these concerns to devastating effect. The paper makes for sobering reading. Professor David Livermore, a medical microbiologist at the University of East Anglia, has also gone public, challenging the rationale and pointing out that there is a “hazard … that vaccination will disrupt [children’s] development” of robust immunity. If one adds the risk of adverse effects such as myocarditis, he sees “no good reason to vaccinate healthy children”.

In conclusion, the consent form produced by officials for this highly ill-advised vaccine roll out is littered with contradictions, untruths and coercive language. 

We must heed the warning signs: scrap this consent form, and the policy that spawned it. It is time to put safety first and call a halt to this plan to put children at risk by injecting them with a novel substance that they do not need. 


1. Early effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination with BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine and ChAdOx1 adenovirus vector vaccine on symptomatic disease, hospitalisations and mortality in olderadults in England.

2. Estimating the effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccine after a single dose. A reanalysis of a study of ‘real-world’ vaccination outcomes from Israel.

3. Hospitalised vaccinated patients during the second wave, update April ‘21 Conor Egan, Stephen Knight, Kenneth Baillie, Ewen Harrison, Annemarie Docherty, Calum Semple ISARIC4C / CO-CIN

4. Shots and Shingles: What Do They Tell Us?

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