NHS invites 12-15s to grab a jab at half term

A petting zoo, family fun days and a skate park are just some of the attractions lined up by NHS and volunteers to get 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated during the half term.

As many schools break up for half term, the NHS is sending invites to parents of more than one million 12 to 15-year-olds reminding them to come forward for their jab, with over 770,000 appointments available for this age group.

Since the biggest and fastest vaccination rollout in NHS history expanded to children and young people, the NHS has delivered over 2.1 million vaccinations to people aged 12-15, including over 1.5 million first doses.

Youngsters who book their jab at North East Surrey College of Technology in Epsom will also get the opportunity to meet some sheep at a pop-up petting zoo which will be held at the site at the weekend.

Two clinics at Mottingham Community Centre in south east London will host a Family Fun Day and Wellbeing Day with balloons, face painting and activities laid on for children.

First and second doses for anyone aged 12 or over will also be available on a walk-in basis at Adrenaline Alley Skate Park in Corby from Tuesday to Sunday (15 February to 20 February).

Today England’s top GP has reminded families of the importance of the vaccine ahead of summer, saying that this half term offers the perfect opportunity to give youngsters that dose of reassurance.

GP and deputy lead of the NHS vaccination programme, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: “While it is great news that more than 1.5 million children aged 12 to 15 have had their first dose, it is estimated that more than two in five children in this age group are yet to come forward for their vaccine.

“This half term offers the perfect opportunity to get your child protected, by booking an appointment online or using one of the hundreds of walk-in sites across the country, with pop-ups this week at places like North East Surrey College of Technology.

“My 13-year-old son has now had two vaccinations and it has definitely given us both that extra dose of reassurance”.

In addition to the out-of-school offer where jabs can be booked through the online booking service or people can visit their nearest walk-in centre, local school aged immunisation services have visited or have plans to visit 95% of schools this term to deliver first and second doses, with the total number of school vaccine visits now at more than 10,000 since the end of September.

The most recent ONS data shows that rates of COVID infections among those in school years 7 to 11 remains high, with around one in 11 (8.7%) testing positive in the week to February 5.

Clinically at-risk 12 to 15-year-olds or those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed are also entitled to their booster three months after their two primary doses, with those who are severely immunosuppressed able to get their booster after a third primary dose.

In line with national guidance, patient information is sent out to parents and guardians with information on the COVID-19 vaccination.

Parents and guardians are asked to attend vaccination sites with their children. They are asked to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment.

Young people who have had COVID must wait 12 weeks until they can be vaccinated, in line with JCVI guidance.