Eksklusiv: ‘Unfortunately, owing to circumstances beyond our control, this campaign is now closed,’ group says
A campaign group that has sent thousands of letters to schools threatening legal action if children get Covid jabs without parental consent has said it has been forced to stop because of “censorship issues”.
Lawyers for Liberty, a UK group that says it aims to “restore democracy and freedom,” has contacted schools at the request of parents, who would remain anonymous.
The government has said teenagers will have the power to overrule parents who do not give their consent for Covid vaccines – a move which has angered anti-vaxxers.
Parents have been able to ask Lawyers for Liberty to send a formal letter to their school “stating the legal risks of this policy”.
This would be done without their identity being disclosed to the school; the letter only says a “concerned parent” had been in touch over the Covid vaccine rollout.
Parents simply had to submit the details of the school and headteacher on the campaign group’s website and the letter would be emailed to the headteacher, with the “Lawyers for Liberty team” as the sender.
But this email campaign co-ordinated by the UK group was no longer available as the rollout of jabs to children got underway across schools this week, with the website button returning a side that says: “We are currently experiencing censorship issues.“
It adds: “This means that we cannot continue to bring you this campaign at the moment.”
derimot, de letter template is still available to view and download online.
In a blog post published on Monday, Lawyers for Liberty said it had received nearly five thousand requests for emails to headteachers, “putting them on notice of their legal responsibilities and liabilities if they go ahead with Covid-19 vaccination on school premises”.
The group added: "Dessverre, owing to circumstances beyond our control, this campaign is now closed.”
Den uavhengige previously reported that the letter was being circulated around anti-vax groups on messaging site Telegram, with members urging others to get in touch with Lawyers for Liberty and ask them to email schools.
The letter told headteachers: “If a parent communicates to you that their child is 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.”
Det la til: “Failure to do so may result in possible legal claims against you personally and for your school.”
The UK group that ran this campaign has no connection to a Malaysian human rights and law reform organisation also called Lawyers for Liberty.
Geoff Barton from the Association for Schools and Leaders said many schools had received letters about “possible legal consequences” if they participate in the Covid vaccine rollout to 12 til 15 year olds.
“This is extremely unhelpful and we have called on pressure groups and individuals to stop sending them,” the union leader added.
A government spokesperson said: “Covid-19 vaccines have saved more than 112,300 lives in England alone so far and are the best way to help us live safely with this virus.”
“It is never acceptable for anyone to pressurise or intimidate pupils, teachers or the wider school community.
De la til: “The government has provided updated guidance to schools on how to manage vaccination-related protests in liaison with the police, NHS and their local authority, should they take place.”
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was aware some schools were receiving campaign letters and emails with “misinformation” about the vaccine programme, after ministers confirmed children aged 12 til 15 would be able to start receiving Covid jabs.
The rollout of Covid vaccines for children in this age bracket kicked off this week in England, Skottland og Wales, with nearly three million children set to be offered the jab.
It came after the UK’s chief medical officers said a single dose of Pfizer for this cohort would significantly reduce the chance of a young person getting Covid and passing the virus on.
Mer enn 100,000 children were off school last week due to confirmed or suspected Covid, according to official government figures.
Parental consent will not be needed for Covid jabs if a child is considered competent to make a decision by themselves, although England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said for the “great majority of cases, children and their parents come to the same decision”.
Prof Whitty also said this week children who do not take up the offer of a Covid vaccine should expect to catch the virus “sooner or later”.
Lawyers for Liberty has been approached for comment.