Don’t wait for schools to book your child’s Covid vaccination, parents told

Parents are being urged not to wait for their child to be vaccinated at school, with slots open at vaccination centres and pharmacies. 

Health chiefs are encouraging families to come forward, as the schools rollout for children aged 12 to 15 has been set back by changes in the medical guidance on jabs. 

Last week, the UK Health Security Agency issued new advice, saying that any children who have had Covid should wait three months to be vaccinated.

The advice has slowed the rollout in schools, with new consent forms having to be issued and a reduction in the number of children who are currently eligible for jabs. 

The changes mean that the number of schools administering jabs fell from 800 to 500, with concern that some children may not be offered jabs until February, due to the current pace of the rollout.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, has urged parents of eligible children to turn to the national vaccination booking website, so they can find a slot at pharmacies, mass vaccination sites and some GP practices. 

He said: “The NHS has invited every eligible child for their vaccination, with more than one million taking up the offer so far," adding that it is "vaccinating in line with updated guidance".

“While hundreds of schools were still visited as planned, I would urge any family who has an eligible child to book an appointment online at one of hundreds of sites, including local pharmacies, GP led vaccination centres or larger sites as soon as possible,” he said.

Latest figures show more than 40 per cent of children aged between 12 and 15 have now been vaccinated in England. 

Cumulative weekly vaccine uptake by age

On Wednesday, Labour said that if the rollout were to continue at the current pace, it would take until February 7 to vaccinate remaining eligible 12 to 15-year-olds.

But a Tory source said the Government would not be taking “any lessons from Labour on how to roll out vaccines”.

The source said: “They wanted to keep us in the European Medicines Agency – if we had listened to them, our world-leading rollout would have been delayed.”

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