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More than 80,000 young people aged 12 to 15 have booked their COVID-19 vaccination since online bookings opened just four days ago, 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 yesterday 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 such as The Kassam Stadium in Oxford and Montgomery Hall in Oval, London 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.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for the NHS Vaccination 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”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our historic vaccine rollout continues to go from strength to strength, and more than 80,000 young people aged 12 to 15 have now booked in to receive their jab.
“The vaccines are available to young people through a tried and tested school immunisation programme and parents or guardians can book a jab at local vaccination sites, making it easier and more convenient for everyone to secure this important protection ahead of the winter months.
“The vaccines are safe and help keep children in the classroom so they can learn and spend time with their friends”.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “Young people continue to show great enthusiasm for the vaccine – over 80,000 children aged 12 to 15 have booked an appointment for their jab, allowing them to continue their important schooling and protecting those around them.
“This fantastic progress means that we are strengthening our wall of defence against the virus and I urge as many people as possible to come forward for a jab as soon as they can”.
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, which 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 website 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 five 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.