• Thursday, December 08, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

NHS starts vaccinating children aged 5 to 11

FILE PHOTO: Felix Dima, 13, from Newcastle receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Excelsior Academy on September 22, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE NHS has started vaccinating five million children aged 5 to 11 as part of the next phase of its immunisation drive. 

Hundreds of sites will be providing vaccinations with more sites coming online throughout the week, the health service informed on Monday (4).

According to the statement, vaccines will be provided at local vaccination centres or community pharmacies outside of school hours and are available to book through the online booking service or by calling 119.

Other convenient vaccine walk-ins across the country can be found through the NHS grab a jab website.

As many as 37,000 have already booked an appointment since the NHS National Booking System opened for children.

More than 119 million vaccinations, including more than 32 million boosters, have been delivered since December 2020, an official statement said.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “NHS staff continue to work hard across the country to deliver the Covid vaccine to all eligible groups and this group of 5 to 11s are the latest to start receiving theirs, helping to protect against potential future waves of covid.

“Local vaccine sites are making it as easy as possible for families, and a less daunting experience for youngsters, by offering things like games and therapy dogs, and it’s great to see lots of 5 to 11s already booked in.

“The vaccine is safe and effective – my 10-year old daughter will be getting hers this week – and I’d encourage all parents to read the information and consider booking their child in for a vaccination at the earliest opportunity.”

As part of the vaccination drive, a therapy dog called Ruby helping to ease nerves in Nottingham and a mini-toy town in the Black Country allowing children to do a treasure hunt and play hopscotch and snakes and ladders before and after their appointment.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ( JCVI ) has advised that all children aged between 5 to 11 will be offered two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses (or 8 weeks for children who have medical conditions).

The NHS said that families will be given a vaccination record card once their child has been vaccinated and are asked to keep this safe.

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