The NHS has today (Monday) started to roll out booster vaccines to children aged 12 to 15 years old who are most at risk from coronavirus.
Clinically at-risk 12 to 15 year-olds or those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed are 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.
GP-led teams have already started to invite those who are eligible including children receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy, those with leukaemia, diabetes, chronic diseases or severe mental illness, and household contacts of someone who is immunosuppressed.
Around 500 of the most at-risk 12 to 15s are eligible from today (Monday), with invites going to parents and guardians this week letting them know their youngsters are eligible for a booster.
The biggest and fastest vaccination rollout in NHS history has already delivered over 30 million boosters to people in England, including over 90% of eligible people aged 50 and over, giving them maximum protection against Omicron.
Along with walk-ins, children will be able to guarantee a slot via local booking systems or get vaccinated at hospital hubs, via their GP or primary care network or through a home visit if the patient is housebound.
NHS vaccination programme lead for 12-15s, Nick Hulme, said: “The booster has been proven to give substantial levels of protection against COVID-19 and the new omicron variant, so it is vital that our youngest and most at-risk get their top-up dose of protection as soon as possible.
“I am delighted that we can kick off this stage of the rollout with the most at-risk children eligible from today, and we look forward to encouraging many more to come forward in the coming days and weeks.
“As soon as you receive the invitation from your local NHS team or GP, please do take up the offer and bring your child forward for their all-important protection as soon as you can.”
The NHS walk-in finder has today been updated to signpost to booster offers for eligible 12 to 15-year-olds at available sites. Children wanting to get their top-up jab at a walk-in site will need to confirm eligibility with an invitation letter from the NHS or their GP or hospital consultant.
All eligible 12 to 15 year olds will be vaccinated with Pfizer and anyone in this cohort who has tested positive for COVID-19 must wait 12 weeks before getting their booster or at least 4 weeks if they’re in the highest risk groups.
Since the vaccination programme opened to all children aged 12 to 15 in September, more than 1.4 million young people have had their first dose, with tens of thousands more still getting jabbed each week.
All children aged 12 to 15 are now also eligible for a second dose – 12 weeks on from their first.
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.