Experts have advised all 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK should be offered a coronavirus vaccine. Previously, only under 18s who had certain health conditions, lived with someone with a low immune system, or were approaching their 18th birthday, were eligible for vaccination.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) made the recommendation, but it is not clear when these jabs will be offered.
About 1.4 million teenagers will become eligible for a vaccine when the rollout opens up.
Some countries, including the US, Canada and France, are routinely vaccinating children aged 12 and over.
The UK Government said ministers would be following the advice from the JCVI.
Can parents make their children get the jab?
Generally, parents cannot force their 16 or 17-year-olds to get vaccinated, though they can provide consent for vaccination.
The legal principles of consent states: “At 16 years of age a young person is presumed in law to have the capacity to consent, so young people aged 16 or 17 years should consent to their own medical treatment.”
On consent says, the law says: “For consent to immunisation to be valid, it must be given freely, voluntarily and without coercion by an appropriately informed person who has the mental capacity to consent to the administration of the vaccines in question.”
The law goes further, saying that a 16 or 17-year-old who fully understands what is involved in a procedure can refuse treatment (in this case, vaccination) if they desire.
The law states: “Where someone aged 16 or 17 years consents to vaccination, a parent cannot override that
“Young people who understand fully what is involved in the proposed procedure (referred to as ‘Gillick competent’) can also give consent, although ideally their parents will be involved.
“If a Gillick-competent child consents to treatment, a parent cannot override that consent.
“If the health professional giving the immunisation felt a child was not Gillick competent then the consent of someone with parental responsibility would be sought.
“If a person aged 16 or 17 years or a Gillick-competent child refuses treatment that refusal should be accepted.”
For under-18s without the “capacity to provide consent”, the law is slightly different.
The guidance says: “The Mental Capacity Act (2005) applies to those aged 16 years and over and is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment.
“If an adult has been assessed as lacking capacity, that is they cannot make this decision or act for themselves, it may be possible to proceed with immunisation under the principle of acting in their ‘best interests’.”
Across England, 223,755 under-18s have received a first vaccine dose, according to NHS data to 25 July.
They are only offered now to those over-12s who have underlying conditions or live with others at high risk.
But there was criticism after it emerged GPs were advised to hold off inviting clinically vulnerable 12 to 15-year-olds to take a vaccine due to uncertainty over insurance.