Hundreds more schools will be offering the COVID-19 vaccine to 12-15-year olds this week when young people return to the classroom, as part of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme.
NHS teams will visit over 800 schools in the next week to offer children aged 12 to 15 a chance to get vaccinated, with consent from a parent or guardian.
Last week, the national booking system opened so that young people could visit existing vaccination centres across the country together with their parents as an extra way to get vaccinated during half term and beyond.
Thousands of families were quick to book in to get their children protected and around 163,000 young people received their jab in the week after the booking system opened up (October 22-29).
A further 140,000 children have their vaccine booked over the next few weeks.
In total, more than 600,000 young people have been vaccinated and 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.
Parents and children aged 12 to 15 will be able to continue to get their jab both at school and by booking in at a vaccine centre online through the National Booking Service.
More than 86 million vaccinations have been delivered since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry, in December 2020.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS COVID-19 vaccine programme, said: “It has been great to see that tens of thousands of families have either booked or already been for their child’s COVID-19 vaccination during half term.
“As our children return to the classroom, our efforts to vaccination 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”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “With hundreds more schools being delivered COVID jabs, we are making it easier and more convenient for everyone to secure vital protection against COVID-19 this winter.
“Young people can access vaccines through the tried and tested school immunisation programme or parents or guardians can book a jab at vaccination sites across the country.
“The vaccines are safe and will help keep children in the classroom – I encourage everyone to come forward for their jab to protect themselves and the people around them”.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “I’m delighted hundreds more schools will be visited by NHS teams this week to vaccinate young people aged 12-15, alongside vaccine centres.
“Thanks to the dedication of NHS vaccine teams, we are making it as simple as possible for parents or guardians to book COVID-19 vaccines for their children – please take up the offer as soon as you can”.
In line with national guidance, consent letters are sent out to parents and guardians prior to the school clinics with information on the COVID-19 vaccination.
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.
There are around 60 school age immunisation services across the country with teams made up of clinical staff such as paediatric nurses and school nurses.
Staff are working hard to offer vaccinations to all children in this age group in schools as quickly as possible.
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 6 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.