Families are being urged to join the 57,000 five to 11-year-olds in the Midlands who have already benefited from the COVID-19 vaccine since the latest phase of the programme began rolling out on 4 April.
Latest figures show that 28,544 five to 11-year-olds have been vaccinated in the East Midlands and 28,754 in the West Midlands, but thousands more are still unprotected against the risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Cases of COVID continue to spread in the community. In the last 7 days, 1,155 patients have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the Midlands and 1,640 patients are currently in hospital with COVID-19 in the region.
For decades, vaccinations have protected children and young people from potentially serious diseases including measles, flu, meningitis and mumps. The COVID-19 vaccine is one more vaccine that will help protect children from illness.
There are a wealth of sites across the region offering vaccinations. Local sites are making it as easy as possible for families, and a less daunting experience for youngsters, by offering activities and therapy dogs.
Sites are allowing for longer appointment times so that families can discuss their decisions and ensure visits with children are as stress free as possible. Appointments can be booked through the National Booking Service or by calling 119.
There are also convenient vaccine walk-ins across the region 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 is making the vaccine available for all five to 11s following updated guidance from The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), 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.
Roz Lindridge, the NHS England and NHS Improvement director responsible for overseeing the vaccination programme across the Midlands, said:
“It is great that over 57,000 five-11-year-olds are now protected against potential future waves of COVID, but I would urge families who have yet to book in to do so as soon as possible.
“Local vaccine sites or pharmacies are open outside of school hours and clinicians are more than happy to offer advice and ease any concerns parents or children might have.
“Parents can be reassured that no new vaccine for children would have been approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness had been met.
“It’s never too late for anyone to have their vaccine. Across the Midlands there is an ‘evergreen’ offer for COVID-19 vaccinations meaning anyone who has not yet been vaccinated is able to come forward at any time to start their vaccinations.”
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.
Each child will be given a third of the dose of vaccine that is given to older children and to adults. Each will have two doses, 12 weeks apart. Children who are at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19 will get their second dose after eight weeks.
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.