North West’s most vulnerable 5-11 year-olds to get Covid vaccine

The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme in the North West will be expanded this week to ensure that children aged between 5 and 11 who are at the most risk of the virus have the best protection.

In the next step of the health service’s drive to protect the country from COVID-19, 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 vaccine in line with advice set out by the JCVI.

In the North West, there are several thousand children eligible – these 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 this week, to help get jabs into arms as quickly as possible.

Across the region, more than 100 sites have already agreed 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 children will be offered two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer vaccine 8 weeks apart – a third of the amount used for adult vaccinations.

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.

Since the biggest and fastest vaccination rollout in NHS history expanded to children and young people, the NHS has already delivered more than three million vaccinations to people aged 12-17 nationally, 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 the eligible young people in this age group have already received their top-up protection.

Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, Regional Director of Commissioning for NHS England and NHS Improvement and Senior Responsible Officer for the Vaccination Programme in the North West, said, “With this expansion of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, we can ensure that the youngest and most at-risk children have the very best protection from the virus.

“It is proven that the vaccines prevent serious illness – including from the omicron variant, which is spreading through our younger population at a faster rate than we have seen before; case rates of primary school aged children are continuing to increase, even though other age groups are falling.

“If you’re the parent or guardian of a 5 -11-year-old, who is eligible for the vaccination, please come forward and book an appointment as soon as the NHS contacts you. A dose of this vaccine will help protect your child, yourself and your loved ones.”

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.

Eligible children in this cohort will get a second dose 8 weeks after their first dose and can’t receive any vaccination until four weeks after a positive test for coronavirus.

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 going out next week.

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.

People aged 16 and 17 can now go to the NHS website  and secure their booster appointment in advance two months (61 days) after their second dose.

More than 14.2 million vaccinations, including 3.7 million booster jabs have been delivered by the NHS North West so far.

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