The National Booking Service is now open and allowing the parents of children who are between five and 11 to book their COVID-19 vaccines as the largest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history expands yet again.
The NHS is making the vaccine available for all five to 11-year-olds following updated Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisations (JCVI) guidance, which recommended all children would benefit from a non-urgent offer of the vaccine, to help protect against potential future waves of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of children falling seriously ill with the virus.
NHS staff have already been vaccinating children under 12 who have medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 or who live with someone with a weakened immune system, and more than half of 12 to 15-year-olds have also come forward for a jab.
Many sites across the region will be providing vaccinations to five to 11-year-olds. NHS staff and volunteers are working hard to make the environment as fun and comfortable as possible for young children including a jungle-themed room and adventure trail at Blackburn Cathedral.
The majority of appointments for this age group will be available at local vaccination centres or community pharmacies outside of school hours and are available to book via the National Booking Service, available via on the NHS website or by calling 119. The NHS will be adding more appointments throughout the week.
There are also convenient vaccine walk-in sites across the country which families can find via www.nhs.uk/grab-a-jab. The online finder shows which walk-in sites can vaccinate which age groups.
The NHS will also be sending invites to parents and guardians of eligible children throughout the next few weeks to let them know they can now book in for a vaccine and some people will be invited by their GP.
Jane Scattergood, chief nurse and senior responsible officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria vaccination programme, said:
“Vaccines remain our best defence against COVID-19 and will reduce the risk of children becoming seriously ill if they do contract this virus.
We know COVID-19 cases are rising in the community so I strongly encourage parents of children aged five to 11 to read the NHS information available and book a vaccine to make sure your family and loved ones are protected.
The vaccine is safe and effective for children in this age group and appointments have been made longer so families can speak with clinicians to make an informed decision while making it stress-free for children.”
Across Lancashire and South Cumbria, more than 3.5million doses of the vaccine have been delivered, including 1million booster jabs. Across the country there have been 119million doses of the vaccine administered.
Parents and guardians are being encouraged to read the patient and consent information in advance of booking their child’s appointment and will be asked to provide consent for their child’s vaccination on the day.
The JCVI has advised that all children aged between five and 11 will be offered two 10 microgram doses – a third of the strength given to those over the age of 12 – of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses (or 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).
Families will be given a vaccination record card once their child has been vaccinated and are asked to keep this in a safe place. The vaccination record card provides the name of the vaccine, batch number and the date the vaccine was given.