It’s now even easier for primary school-aged children to get their COVID-19 vaccines, as the vaccination programme across Hertfordshire expands to include some local pharmacies from this week.
The NHS made the vaccine available for all 5 to 11s following updated guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which recommended all children would benefit from being offered the vaccine. Thousands of parents and carers across Hertfordshire have already had their children vaccinated and others have made appointments.
Most appointments for this age group are available at dedicated vaccination centres outside of school hours and can be booked online through the national booking service website (www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination) or by calling 119.
Parents and carers can now use the national booking service to make appointments for 5 to 11s at some pharmacies as well as weekend appointments at vaccination centres.
The NHS has pulled out all the stops to ensure appointments are as easy and stress-free as possible for children and their parents or carers. Vaccination centres have been made child friendly with a range of fun activities available and staff have decorated the centres to make them welcoming for children. Appointment slots have been made longer so that parents and carers have plenty of time to talk to vaccinators and ask questions.
Gerry Moir, Director of Operations, COVID Vaccinations Centres at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, says: ‘It is important that we give children a positive experience of their COVID-19 vaccination so that they feel positive about having the vaccinations they need in future.
‘As part of creating a welcoming and stress-free environment at our vaccination centres, we’re giving adults and older children who are not fully vaccinated the opportunity to have their jab at same time as their 5- to 11-year-olds, without needing to book.’
Some GP-run sites are also vaccinating 5 to 11s. Parents or carers wishing to have their children vaccinated at a GP run site will need to book directly with their GP practice, though some appointments are available on the national booking system. If a GP practice is vaccinating 5- to 11- year-olds they will contact parents or carers of eligible children directly.
Dr Rachel Joyce, Director of Clinical and Professional Services for the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System, said: ‘Vaccines remain the best defence we have against the COVID-19 virus which is still circulating widely amongst our local population. I would encourage all parents and carers to read the NHS information available and consider taking up the offer for their children as we learn to live with this virus.’
For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations for 5 to 11s, including information about local sites offering jabs and answers to questions you might have about vaccinations for this age group go to covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/vaccine-information-for-young-people.