NHS teams to visit schools to offer jabs to pupils after October half-term

Sajid Javid wants 12- to 15-year-olds to get vaccinated to ‘protect themselves and the people around them’

Ella Glover
Sunday 31 October 2021 00:38
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Vaccines, testing advised to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks at schools

School children aged 12-15 will be able to get a coronavirus vaccine in school after the October half-term.

Health teams from the NHS are set to visit more than 800 schools to offer the jabs, and teenagers can also get one at a vaccination centre through the national booking system.

Health secretary Sajid Javid encouraged school students to get vaccinated to “protect themselves and the people around them”.

“The vaccines are safe and will help keep children in the classroom,” he said.

Pupils are also being urged to take a lateral flow test before the end of half-term to prevent the spread of coronavirus in schools.

The decision to vaccinate teenagers came despite the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) refusing to recommend a universal rollout vaccination programme for children aged 12-15.

In their ruling, the JCVI claimed that the virus presents a very low risk for children in this age group and that inoculation would offer only minor benefits.

But chief medical officers told a Downing Street press conference on Monday that there were other benefits, including reducing the disruption to the school term.

More than 600,000 young people have been vaccinated since the jabs rollout was extended to include 12- to 15-year-olds at the end of September, NHS England said.

Some 163,000 young people received a jab in the week after the national booking system opened up to them from 22 October.

A further 140,000 children have their vaccine booked over the next few weeks, NHS England added.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccine programme, said: “As our children return to the classroom, our efforts to vaccinate children will not stop – hundreds more schools will be vaccinating this week.

“It’s really important that we continue with the same enthusiasm if we want to ensure children get to stay in the classroom with their fellow pupils this winter, and so I encourage all parents and guardians to head online and read the information on vaccinating your child, so you can make an informed decision.”

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