A HOVE MP has said the decision to offer 16 and 17-year-olds a coronavirus vaccine has come “too late”.

Sixteen-year-olds will be offered a first Covid-19 jab in the coming weeks and will not need the consent of their parents to get a vaccine.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, has said offering the vaccine to eligible teenagers now is “too late to make a difference to education when term starts next month”.

In a tweet, he wrote that the government had “squandered the opportunity summer offered”.

Mr Kyle said: “Summer of chaos continues with another U-turn. As recently as two weeks ago Boris Johnson refused to offer vaccines to adolescents.

“This delay means there’s no time for students to be double vaccinated before autumn term starts”.

In a later tweet, the Labour MP, who is shadow schools minister, added: "We need students learning not isolating.

"Government needs to end the chaos and confusion of vaccinating teenagers and trust parents to make the best choice for their kids.

"Boris Johnson’s summer of chaos will wreck classrooms unless someone gets a grip."

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the rollout should be extended to include 16 and 17-year-olds after reviewing the latest data.

Ministers have accepted the recommendation and the NHS is making preparations to start giving first doses to around 1.4 million children.

Vaccination experts are yet to set out the timeline for when youngsters should get their second dose and will make further recommendations in the coming weeks.

Officials close to the programme said that under current UK guidance, if a child is able to understand the risks and benefits of any medical treatment then they can legally give consent without their parents’ say-so.

The child or young person’s consent is considered the most appropriate consent, even if a parent disagrees.

It is understood officials are not ruling out vaccinations for otherwise healthy 12 to 15-year-olds but want to look at more information first.

At present, children over the age of 12 are only eligible for a vaccine if they have certain medical conditions which put them at risk from Covid-19 or teenagers who live with people who are immunocompromised.

Some commentators have welcomed the move to jab older teenagers, saying that extending the vaccine programme will help reduce infection rates and transmission of the virus as well as curb disruption to schooling.

Children will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved for use in the UK for people aged 12 and over.

Experts have been constantly reviewing the data on vaccines for children.

Children who have had the vaccine in clinical trials and real world data suggest that some get short-lived side effects after inoculation, including fever, sore arm, headache and tiredness.

The NHS will set out plans on the rollout of the programme shortly.

Have you got a story for us? Email news@theargus.co.uk or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.