As the largest and most successful vaccination effort in health service history continues to the next phase, the NHS has begun inoculating children aged 5-11. Following updated JCVI guidelines, nearly five million children in this age range are entitled to two doses of the vaccine, which recommends that children can benefit from a non-urgent vaccine offer.
Hundreds of sites will be offering vaccinations, with more sites going online throughout the week since some schools have already broken for the Easter vacation. The bulk of immunizations for children aged 5 to 11 will be administered outside of school hours at community vaccination facilities or community pharmacies, and can be scheduled online or by phoning 119.
Vaccine walk-in clinics are also available around the UK, which families can discover on the NHS grab a jab portal. Children aged 5 to 11 who have medical issues that put them at a higher risk of COVID-19 or who live with someone who has a weaker immune system have already been vaccinated by NHS workers.
On April 2nd, the NHS National Booking System enabled families with children aged 5 to 11 to order a COVID vaccine for their kids, and 37,000 people have already done so. In forthcoming weeks, the NHS plans to send out invites to let parents and guardians learn that they can now arrange an appointment for a vaccine, and some individuals will be approached by their GP teams.
Since Margaret Keenan received the first immunisation outside of a clinical trial in Coventry in December 2020, the NHS in England has provided upwards of 119 million immunizations, along with more than 32 million boosters. NHS staff continue to work hard across the country to deliver the COVID vaccine to all eligible groups, and this gathering of 5 to 11s is the newest to actually receive theirs, helping protect against potential future waves of COVID, said Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme.
By offering things like games and therapy dogs, local immunisation sites are attempting to make it as easy as possible for families and a less frightening experience for children, and it’s amazing to see so many kids aged 5 to 11 already booked in.The vaccine is effective and safe—her 10-year-old daughter will get hers this week—and she would recommend all parents study the literature and consider scheduling a vaccination for their child as soon as possible, added Kanani.
The NHS has gone to great lengths to make vaccinations as painless as possible for children, including a therapy dog named Ruby in Nottingham who helps to calm nerves and a mini-toy town in the Black Country where children can go on a treasure hunt as well as play hopscotch, & snakes and ladders during their appointment. Longer appointment durations are also being offered on some sites so that families may discuss their options and ensure that meetings with youngsters are as strain-free as possible.
Parents and guardians are also advised to read the consent materials before making an appointment for their child, as they will be asked to grant consent for their child’s vaccination on the day of the visit. The JCVI has recommended that all children aged 5 to 11 receive two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine called Comirnaty® with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses, which is a third of the strength given to all children over the age of 12.
Once their kid has been vaccinated, parents will be handed a vaccination log card to keep in a safe location. The name of the vaccine, the batch number, and the date the jab is given are all stated on the vaccination record card.