The COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to young people aged over 12, NHS England has announced.
Almost three million children in this age group are eligible for one dose of the Pfizer vaccine following the government’s acceptance of the UK Chief Medical Officers’ recommendation.
Like the flu and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, COVID-19 jabs will be delivered by local school age immunisation services (SAIS) who will work closely with schools to identify all eligible children. In line with standard practice for vaccinations in schools, consent letters are being sent out to parents and guardians with information on the COVID-19 vaccination.
‘Alongside one of our busiest summers, NHS staff have been working closely with schools to ensure they are ready to deliver the vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 who are now eligible,’ said Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for the NHS COVID-19 vaccination program.
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‘Following the decision by government, and building on the success of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme which has delivered over 77 million vaccinations, the NHS will now roll out to hundreds of schools over the next few days. The vaccine is safe and effective and I would urge families to work closely with their schools based vaccination team to get their loved ones vaccinated when they are invited to protect themselves and their families ahead of the winter period.’
Children aged 12 to 15 with health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID, as well as those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed, are already being invited for a COVID jab and are eligible for two doses of Pfizer.
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‘It’s encouraging to see 12 to 15 year olds starting to get their vaccinations today – reflecting our ongoing commitment to protect young people from COVID-19 and minimise any disruption to their education,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
‘The vaccine has made a significant difference in saving lives and reducing transmissions, and has met the strict standards of safety and effectiveness of our renowned medicines regulator for those aged 12 and over.’