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15 year grandson and Covid jab

(23 Posts)
Struthruth Sat 18-Sep-21 11:12:47

My grandson is refusing to have Covid jab which will be administered at his school in the next few weeks.

He is a young carer for his mum who suffers from mental health problems and has her, not very rational reasons, for not being vaccinated. He says his decision has nothing to do with his mothers decision and she will not mind what decision he makes.

I have tried having a discussion with him, to find out his reason. He said it was a "mad" reason and said something about the Government controlling our minds by vaccinating the population.

I don't want to make him defensive or intransigent. Wondered if school could use this topic as a way of helping students make informed choices.

Any ideas would be welcome.

eazybee Sat 18-Sep-21 11:35:54

The schools are trying to avoid being involved in the debate because they do not want irate parents of any persuasion accusing them of influencing their children. Plus they have more than enough to do.

Silverbridge Sat 18-Sep-21 11:37:47

Try to make him think about the science and how the vaccines were developed. A lot of anti-vaxxers talk about them having been developed too quickly. The reason they were was because much of the work had already been done when developing vaccines for other zoonotic viruses such as Ebola and MERS - viruses which jump from animal to human populations.

Ask him to watch this video of the talk Professor Sarah Gilbert gave for the Humanist Society.

I have no idea why people believe these ludicrous mind control theories. Fact is, young unvaccinated people can and do die from this virus. Why would he not want to be protected especially as a young carer whose mum relies on him?

At fifteen, he's capable of sifting information for himself to decide what is true and what isn't. It was and probably still is part of the Year 7 (age 11/12) ICT curriculum to evaluate online sources. Maybe he can think back to when he did that.

Perhaps watch this video together and discuss it. It's about AZ which is a different kind of vaccine to Pfizer and Moderna but the principle is the same. They were all developed to protect people not harm them.

Maybe you can also point out the irony that people citing mind control as an anti-vaxx excuse are succumbing to mind control by the very people spreading these foundationless conspiracy theories.

Nannarose Sat 18-Sep-21 12:39:41

I spent my working life talking about vaccinations!
Begin with respecting his decision, and saying that you understand his reluctance (just as a generality, not specifics)
You have asked him if he wants to explain, and he sounds rather muddled; you could ask again if appropriate - but make it clear that you are not going to argue with him or belittle his reasons, or change your own mind. This is just part of a dialogue.
Caring for someone with mental health problems is very challenging - and I think teenagers are especially likely to be affected. This may even be part of a bid for attention - I am not saying this in a critical way - I am sure that after all he has been through that he needs some attention! He can get that from you without feeling criticised.
As part of the dialogue, share your own worries with him - not to burden him, but also as part of the conversation. And make sure he knows that he can change his mind at any time.

Thank you Silverbridge for those interesting links - which I am sure will be useful to many gransnetters - I am not sure is this young man wants anything logical at the moment!

Good luck.

BlueBelle Sat 18-Sep-21 13:58:41

Don’t do anything, it’s his decision and his alone and you have to value that
I know at 15/16/17 I would have done the complete opposite
of anyone telling me or even asking me to do something I wasn’t sure of
He will soon have it if friends are, or he can’t travel or something else
My youngest daughter had to have the vaccine for work purposes but didn’t want it at all and none of her children have had it which I don’t agree with at all but nothing I can or should do

Hithere Sat 18-Sep-21 14:09:11

I agree with bluebelle

The more you push him to get the vaccine, the more he won't want it.

Polarbear2 Sat 18-Sep-21 14:17:04

I’d put money on it he’s scared of a needle and just using those poor reasons to avoid it. In the Q for my jab I had a big bruiser of a bloke behind me and he was terrified it ‘would hurt’. Bless.
It’s difficult though but I wouldn’t interfere. You won’t change his mind. Only peer pressure will do that. Take care

Riverwalk Sat 18-Sep-21 15:43:06

I think your grandson will be fine and may come round to having the vaccine in his own time.

As we know, well from what I've read, teenagers are being vaccinated for the good of society; it's not for their personal wellbeing unlike normal vaccines.

I'd be more worried that your GS at 15 is a Carer for his mother - I always feel sad for young carers as they shouldn't be put in that position.

BlueBelle Sat 18-Sep-21 15:48:00

I'd be more worried that your GS at 15 is a Carer for his mother - I always feel sad for young carers
I so totally agree riverwalk my heart always goes out to young people who have the roles reversed

Lolo81 Sat 18-Sep-21 16:58:50

Also agree with Bluebelle, trying to cajole or reason may have him digging his heels in further.
In all likelihood the introduction of vaccine passports which may affect his ability to go places and/or do things with his friends may have more of an impact on his decision than anything else.

Santana Sat 18-Sep-21 18:18:44

Your grandson is remarkable having to care for his mum, and not having her to chat through his vaccine worries in a sensible way.

Santana Sat 18-Sep-21 18:24:20

Sorry, trigger finger.
I have a 15 yr old grandson and he had the HPV vaccine not long ago at school, so yours would have had one too. Any needle phobia would have shown up then.
Let him make his own decision and give him the option to talk it through with you. More than likely he will talk to his mates who are a big influence at 15.
He can have the vaccine later if he needs some time. Vaccination hubs will be picking up all those who miss it at school.

valdali Sat 18-Sep-21 18:36:24

I think the OP has something when she says schools should do a session on this - mainly because of his reason for not having the jab. Our vaccination rates aren't what they should be and a school session would be valuable to try to persuade young people. But also, it would tackle the mis-information/ fake news/ internet scare stories side of this. And that is valuable in its own right. What good is education if at the end of it a person can't discriminate between the flood of information on the internet and has no tools to check what is evidence-based and what some "influencer" has just dreamed up in his bath?

Newquay Sat 18-Sep-21 20:36:23

Our eldest DGD, a first class honours science graduate is refusing the vaccins also-along with her parents and other siblings. When I mention the subject to her to ask why she replies «because it’s experimental «!
As a family they are very influenced by USA.
I feel your pain!!

GagaJo Sat 18-Sep-21 21:08:51

I heard a stroppy teenage girl in the park showing off to her boyfriend the other day. 'No one's gonna stick me with no needle.'

I think those teenagers refusing KNOW how much adults want them to have the jab and are therefore refusing. Any extra pressure will just make them even more delighted to refuse.

Silverbridge Sat 18-Sep-21 21:12:08

Newquay How can a first class honours science graduate even say that? It isn't experimental. It based on extensive earlier research into developing vaccines to protect again Ebola, MERS and many other zoonotic viruses.

The groundwork was done years ago which was why and how the Covid vaccine came to be produced so quickly. It was trialled and tested and is protecting millions of people.

AZ is the DNA sequence for SARS-Cov2 spliced with and delivered via a chimpanzee adenovirus vector. It can't be a human adenovirus as our immune system wouldn't recognise it as something foreign to react to triggering the development of antibodies and memory cells. The vector is eliminated from the body in days.

valdali Yes, skills that are taught, or at least were when I was teaching, from year 7 in ICT and never more important than now. I do understand that peer pressure and the desire to conform is huge on young people making them frightened to question and think for themselves. I think this young man, owning that his reasoning is "mad" is crying out for logical thinking and adult guidance.

PolarBear2 You could have a point. A friend was having problems in the workplace with a big young lad being very vocal about conspiracy but noted that his story kept changing. She took him aside and asked what was really going on. He admitted he was frightened of needles.

TBH, I don't think it helps that so many people complain about feeling poorly after vaccination. Some do, some don't and that will depend on general health and the individual's immune system response. It's perfectly normal and explained in the leaflet given out. You'd have thought some of my neighbours were dying, the fuss they made about having a headache and a sore arm. That's why we have paracetomol.

Interesting article in The Guardian today about Covid compassion fatigue among medics in the USA where hospitals are full of non-vaccinated patients. Over 8000 hospital beds in the UK occupied by Covid patients many of whom wouldn't be there if they had taken the protection offered them. Every day another story of a young person having gone to their death regretting their foolish decision. It's heartbreaking and so unnecessary.

25Avalon Sat 18-Sep-21 21:33:11

It’s his choice, not parents or anyone else. Children over 12 are able to have the vaccine without parental consent, and to my way of thinking the converse applies.

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 18-Sep-21 22:40:02

I feel so sorry for the lad, who knows what aggravation he will go through with his Mother if he has the jab, as she obviously won’t want him to have it.
Maybe his friends will all have it and he will too, you might be able to reassure him that if he does have the jab at school, his mother need never know? I’m assuming that parents won’t be told if their children have the jab at school?

Silverbridge Sat 18-Sep-21 22:43:38

Oopsadaisy1 The OP says his mother will not mind what decision he makes.

Neen Sun 19-Sep-21 10:54:47

To be honest 15 isn't that young and it's his choice and he's now coming into a lifetime of choices. He can always change his mind later when the school trip is is in Switzerland or something or his thoughts differ. But if he doesn't change his mind, he shouldn't feel bad for it.
I'm double jabbed and so is one of my daughters but the other daughter didn't want to, it is what it is. The daughter who doesn't want to and myself both have had breast cancer and operations and treatments and she still didn't want to, it's her choice, I'd never dream of saying you must.but I know she wants to take her children to Euro Disney so I imagine her reasons for not doing so won't be long standing.

Struthruth Tue 28-Sep-21 10:04:38

Many thanks for suggestions and links. Really helpful. I will try and show him the science and also bear in mind that he may be scared of the jab. Hadn’t taken that into account.

Have e-mailed school to see if they can do a session on decision making. Stated that I thought it was more likely to be disadvantaged kids who were refusing and gratified to hear a news item on the Today programme stating that most of that age group are having it but lower uptake with students from difficult backgrounds.

Keeping a light hearted chat going about it is important.
Great suggestion appreciate the support.

M0nica Tue 28-Sep-21 15:34:51

What a difficult life he has, my sympathies are with him. I think in essence, this is the first time he has been able to make a decision for himself and, since he is mainly going to look at social media, no vax is the way he is likely to go.

AS others say, respect his views, if he gives any reason show an interest, and if you think he will not get defensive, ask him about the science behind them, on the basis that he is a kind and thoughtful boy and would not have made such a decision without careful thought and studying the evidence carefully.

Eloethan Tue 28-Sep-21 17:58:56

It's up to him.