The NHS vaccination programme has now begun to roll out to children aged between 5 and 11 who are most at risk of COVID-19, as the health service’s drive to protect the country from the virus continues.
Children aged 5 -11 who are in a clinical risk group or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed will be able to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in line with advice set out by the JCVI. There are around 500,000 eligible children in the latest cohort. Eligible children include those with diabetes, immunosuppression, learning disabilities, and other conditions as outlined by the UK Health Security Agency in the Green Book.
GP-led teams have been identifying eligible children ahead of vaccinations starting to help get jabs into arms as quickly as possible. Parents and guardians should wait for the NHS to contact them for when it is their child’s turn to get the life-saving vaccine with local NHS teams already contacting those who are eligible.
Over 850 sites have already signed up to be part of the latest expansion – with vaccinations to 5-11-year-olds being delivered initially by GP-led vaccination teams and hospital hubs.
All eligible 5-11-year-olds will be offered two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart – a third of the amount used for adult vaccinations and can’t receive any vaccination until four weeks after a positive test for coronavirus.
Since the biggest and fastest vaccination rollout in NHS history expanded to children and young people, the NHS has already delivered over 3.5 million vaccinations to people aged 12-17, including over 2.4 million first doses. And just two weeks after the expansion of the booster to all 16 and 17-year-olds, over half of eligible young people in this age group have already received their top-up protection.
Latest ONS data shows COVID-19 cases increasing among children aged from two to school year six – and increased from school years seven to 11.
In line with national guidance, patient information is sent out to parents and guardians with information on the COVID-19 vaccination. Parents and guardians are asked to attend with their children and are asked to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment.
Last month the JCVI also issued updated guidance recommending all 16 and 17-year-olds get a Pfizer booster from three months (91 days) after their second dose. They can now go to the NHS website and secure their booster appointment in advance two months (61 days) after their second dose.
Over 115 million coronavirus vaccinations, including 43.9 million first doses and over 31 million booster doses have been delivered by the NHS so far.
The NHS is also reminding parents and guardians that their children can continue to get protection from flu with millions of reminder texts, letters, and emails being sent out. More children than ever are eligible for a free flu vaccine this winter, including all two- and three-year-olds and all pupils from reception age to school leavers, to drive up protection from the virus. Young people aged four to 16 will have been offered the flu vaccination through their school, but parents can phone 119 to find out how to book a jab if they do not have an appointment planned in school already.