Five million young children eligible for covid vaccine from today

Around five million children are eligible for a covid vaccine from today, Saturday, April 2, as the vaccination programme expands to include five to 11-year-olds. Appointments will be available at hundreds of sites from Monday, April 4, more coming online throughout the week.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation approved the use of vaccines for younger children in February. NHS staff have already been vaccinating those in the age bracket with medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 or who live with someone with a weakened immune system. More than three in five 12 to 15-year-olds have also come forward for a jab.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: «From today, parents of almost five million five to 11-year-olds can book their little ones in for a vaccine, ensuring they get their first dose of protection and helping to protect against potential future waves of Covid-19.

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«Vaccines remain the best defence we have against the virus – my 13-year-old son has had his two vaccinations and I’ll be booking my ten-year-old daughter in for hers at the earliest opportunity, and would encourage all parents to read the NHS information available and consider doing the same.»

The NHS will be sending invites to parents and guardians of eligible children throughout the next few weeks to let them know they can book in for a vaccine and some will be invited by their GP. Most appointments for the age group will be available at local vaccination centres or community pharmacies outside school hours. They are available to book through the online booking service or by calling 119.

There are also vaccine walk-ins across the country which families can find through the NHS grab a jab website.

The JCVI has advised that five to 11-year-olds will be offered two ten microgram doses, a third of the strength given to all over the age of 12, of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses. The gap will be at least eight weeks for children who have medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 or who live with someone with a weakened immune system.

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