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The NHS today (Monday 20 December) opens the national booking service for 12-15 year-olds to get their second COVID-19 jab, as part of the national mission to get people protected against the new Omicron variant.
The latest milestone in the NHS Covid Vaccination programme comes after a bumper weekend of jabs, with more than 1.5 million boosters recorded as part of a record-busting total of nearly 1.7 million jabs delivered across England over Saturday and Sunday.
All eligible 12-15s will be able to book their all-important second jab online if they had their first dose more than twelve weeks ago, in line with updated guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published on 29 November.
The NHS began rolling out first doses to the 12-15 age group in schools at the end of September, within 48 hours of the government accepting the UK chief medical officer’s recommendation to offer to these ages.
More than 1.3 million young people have taken up the offer of a vaccine so far and more than 5,000 schools have been visited.
Over 75,000 schoolchildren are currently eligible for a second dose.
As schools break for Christmas, England’s top doctor is urging young people and their families to book in for either their first dose if they haven’t done so already and second dose as they become eligible online.
Young people are able to get their vaccine through existing school immunisation services or by booking through the national booking service to attend a vaccination site outside of school hours.
More than 107 million vaccinations, including more than 24 million boosters, 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.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “As schools begin to wind down for Christmas, and with the new threat from the Omicron variant, it has never been a more important time to get your child protected.
“More than 1.3 million young people have already taken up their offer of a vaccine and now as they become eligible – 12 weeks on from their first dose – they can book online and get their vaccination at sites across the country.
“NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to get everyone who is eligible vaccinated, with more pop-up clinics and extended hours, so it is vital people play their part by coming forward as soon as possible to get protected.”
Second doses for this age group will initially be offered via the national booking service, as schools break up for Christmas.
School-age immunisation service providers will run once schools return in the New Year, with second doses also being offered through schools from 10th January.
Most schools will require multiple visits so that vaccines can be given to all consenting pupils and all schools will have had at least one visit before February half term.
Last week the national booking service opened to everyone aged 18 and over to book in for their booster, prompting a 67% increase week on week in boosters given.
The NHS has outlined detailed plans to accelerate the COVID-19 booster programme with extended opening hours as part of plans to protect the nation against the new Omicron variant.
More pop-up sites will be coming online with local areas looking at the most convenient sites for their communities – from trucks and buses in parks and cathedrals to football stadiums and leisure centres.
There are now around 3,000 sites across the country, which includes double the number of hospitals offering jabs to the public – going from 30 to 71 in two weeks.
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 are getting 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.