Covid vaccinations: Chorley schools Holy Cross Catholic High and Parklands High threatened with legal action by Lawyers for Liberty over jabs for pupils
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Holy Cross Catholic High School and Parklands High School in Chorley, are two of the many schools across the country being threatened with legal action if they take an active role in the covid-vaccination programme.
A pressure group called Lawyers for Liberty has warned headteachers that their staff could be held liable if families objections are not listened to.
Headteacher of Parklands High, Steve Mitchell said: "We have been contacted by Lawyers for Liberty but we are reassured by our legal advisors, Browne Jacobson, that schools will be not liable. Our vaccination programme has been agreed and parents have been informed. We have had a very few responses where parents are expressing that they do not consent, but as yet we have not officially sought consent as we are awaiting further information from the NHS vaccination team."
A spokesman for Holy Cross Catholic High also confirmed to the Post that the school has received a legal warning from the group but declined to comment further.
This comes following the UK’s chief medical officer’s announcement this week that healthy children aged 12 to 15 should be offered one dose of a Covid vaccine.
Although the jabs will be offered in school settings, it will be health workers who administer them, and it is widely expected school staff will have no role in the immunisation programme.
Parents will be asked to give consent, however if a child and their parent are of opposing views, the child, if considered competent, will have the final say.
Lawyers for Liberty, a voluntary network of lawyers and campaigns, accept referrals from parents concerned that their children will receive the jab without the consent, and then sends emails to their nominated schools, apparently "advising them of the legal risks of their policy."
The template email, which has already been circulated amongst schools, says: "If a parent communicates to you that their child will not to be included in the vaccination programme or does not provide consent, then that decision must be respected, without any further consequences for the child, including direct or indirect discrimination or coercion.
"Failure to do so may result in possible legal claims against you personally and for your school."
A Lancashire County Council spokesperson said: "The County Council have been made aware of the approaches made by an organisation to Lancashire schools, and headteachers are being provided with legal advice accordingly."
As part of national NHS-run immunisation programmes, school children already receive vaccinations against other conditions every year, for which consent is gained from parents, guardians and carers.
Taking to twitter, the General Secretary of the Association of School & College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said that in regards to "vaccinations taking place on school sites" there is a "need for absolute clarity that the responsibilities of school leaders are for education issues, and emphatically not medical/public health ones."
The Post has also approached Lancashire County Council for comment.