Covid-19 vaccination sites across the South East of England are delivering vital jabs to 12-15-year olds outside of a school setting, with more sites going live each day.
Nationally, more than 80,000 young people aged 12 to 15 had booked in for their Covid-19 vaccination on Tuesday, just four days after online bookings opened on Friday night, as part of the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme.
As the extra option for getting children vaccinated came online on Friday night, bookings are now being taken up at a faster pace, with almost 33,000 bookings on Monday alone – thousands every hour.
Around half a million young people in this age group have already been jabbed as the vaccination rollout, the biggest and fastest in NHS history continues to protect the country against the virus.
The NHS has visited thousands of schools since rolling out the jab to 12 to 15 year olds at the end of September – just a week after updated guidance from the government.
Over one hundred existing vaccination centres, including The Kassam Stadium in Oxford and SAGA vaccination site in Kent in the South East, are already getting families through their doors with more and more expected to come online this week.
Over 2.5 million ‘follow up’ letters are landing on doorsteps this week inviting parents and children to book a vaccination online through the National Booking Service.
If a child has already been invited through their school, they do not need to act on their invite unless parents wish to get their child vaccinated outside of school.
More than 85 million vaccines have already been delivered and nine in 10 adults have had their first dose since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab in Coventry in December.
Vaughan Lewis, Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement’s South East region, said: “The national booking service provides an additional option for parents to book a vaccine for their child, alongside the schools’ programme which has already vaccinated around half a million young people and visited thousands of schools.
He added: “The decision to get vaccinated has always been a private choice between a child and their parent or guardian, and I would urge families to look at the information together.
“Getting vaccinated gives children and their loved ones crucial protection ahead of winter.”
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme, said: “The NHS is making it as easy as possible for parents to get their child protected this half term with tens of thousands of young people booking in online with their families so far.
“It’s really important that we keep that momentum going if we want to ensure children get to stay in the classroom with their classmates this winter so if you’re thinking about getting your child vaccinated, I would encourage you to head online and look at the information.
“The decision to get vaccinated has always been a private choice between a child and their parent or guardian – my 13-year-old son received his vaccine at school on the same day I had my booster dose in a local pharmacy, so please come forward and book that all important appointment today, ensuring your little loved ones get their dose of crucial protection ahead of winter.”
Parents and guardians are asked to attend vaccination sites with their children if they want them to get jabbed outside of school hours and consent will be sought on the day. Parents and young people are being asked to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment. This can also be accessed online.
As more sites come online, parents will have the extra offer of getting their children vaccinated at existing vaccination sites across the country, including GP practices, community pharmacies and other convenient local sites. Parents are being advised to keep checking the NHS.uk as more appointments and sites become available.
Covid-19 booster jabs have been booked or delivered at more than nine in ten care homes in England.
The NHS booster vaccine rollout is also well underway with more than 5 million people already receiving the important top-up jab ahead of winter.
Parents or guardians will be able to book their child in for a single dose of the vaccine through the online booking service or they can ring 119.