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Parents can book COVID-19 vaccinations for their children online with appointments available over the half-term, the NHS has said, as the COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard confirmed this week that bookings would open up to children, with the online booking system opening up on Friday as an additional way to get protected over half-term and beyond.
There are almost one hundred sites offering jabs to 12 – 15 year olds with hundreds more expected to join them in the coming weeks.
From tomorrow, just over 2.5 million letters will begin land with parents and guardians of 12 -15-year-olds inviting them to book a vaccination online through the National Booking Service.
The booking service will provide an additional option for parents to book a vaccine for their child, alongside the schools’ programme which has already vaccinated nearly half a million young people and visited thousands of schools.
If a child has already been invited through their school, they do not need act on their invite unless parents wish to get their child vaccinated outside of school.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme, said: “Millions of parents will be receiving letters from tomorrow inviting their children to get a COVID vaccine through the National Booking Service – this provides an additional way for 12- to 15-year-olds to get their vaccine following the rollout in schools that has seen more than a half million vaccinated already.
“With October half-term upon us, it’s a convenient time for parents to book to get their children vaccinated and protected.
“If parents have already received their vaccine or been invited through their school then they do not need to do anything.
“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. I would urge families to look at the information together and then book in to give children and their loved ones crucial protection ahead of winter”.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said: “We are making it easier for parents and guardians to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for their 12-15 year old children ahead of half term. This will give them much more flexibility in getting the jab when it is convenient for them as well as further supporting the vaccine rollout to build our wall of defence.
“Vaccines are safe, will protect children from COVID-19 and prevent further disruption to education.”
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “Throughout the vaccine programme we have continued to make access to the jabs as easy as possible – and now parents and guardians can book a COVID-19 jab for their children at vaccination hubs.
“For everyone with a child who is eligible, please do not delay and make sure you’re booking as soon as possible to give your family protection as we head into the winter months.”
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.
More than 84 million vaccines have already been delivered and 9 in ten adults have had their first dose since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry, in December 2020.
The NHS booster vaccine rollout is also well underway with more than 4.7 million people already receiving the important top-up jab ahead of winter in just a month since the JCVI updated its guidance.
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.
The NHS has also been vaccinating 16- and 17-year olds with a single dose since the start of August, with around three in five jabbed.