Parents can now book covid-19 vaccinations online for their 12-15 year old children with appointments available as soon as this weekend, the NHS has announced.
People will be able to go online and check the National Booking Service to see if their local site has appointments to vaccinate children and young people, as the NHS covid-19 vaccination programme continues at pace.
The booking service will provide an additional option for parents to book a vaccine for their child, alongside the schools programme which has already vaccinated nearly half a million young people and visited thousands of schools.
If a child has already been invited through their school, they do not need act on their invite unless parents wish to get their child vaccinated outside of school.
The move is an expansion of the existing programme, providing parents with an extra option, as the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in health history continues to protect people against the virus.
Parents and guardians will be advised to attend vaccination sites with their children if they want them to get 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. This can also be accessed online.
The NHS has said that it is a new option for parents who may want to get their child vaccinated during half term.
As more sites come online, parents will have the extra offer of getting their children vaccinated at existing vaccination centres across the country, including GP practices, community pharmacies and other convenient local sites. Parents are being advised to keep checking the NHS.uk as more appointments and sites become available.
Millions of letters will be sent to parents and guardians of children aged 12 – 15 over the coming weeks inviting them to book the vaccine online or by calling 119 as the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme continues at pace.
More than 83 million vaccines have already been delivered and nearly 9 in ten adults have had their first dose since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry, in December 2020.
The NHS booster vaccine rollout is also well underway with more than four million people already receiving the important top up jab ahead of winter in just four weeks since the JCVI updated its guidance.
Anyone receiving a text or letter inviting them for a booster jab should come forward as soon as possible to get crucial protection.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme, said: “As we head in to October half term, the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme is opening up vaccine centres to young people aged 12 to 15 as another way to get their vaccine – if they have already received their vaccine or been invited through their school then they do not need to do anything.
“The decision to get vaccinated has always been a private choice between a child and their parent or guardian – my 13-year-old son received his vaccine at school on the same day I had my booster dose in a local pharmacy. I would urge families to look at the information together and then book in to give children and their loved ones crucial protection ahead of winter.”
Lead for NHS vaccination programme for school aged children, Nick Hulme, said: “The schools-based vaccination drive builds on the hugely successful NHS Covid vaccination programme, which has delivered more than 83 million doses to nine in ten adults, and the well-established school immunisation services that vaccinate children every year.
“By offering an additional way to get vaccinated, the next phase of the roll out will make it even more accessible and convenient for school children to get vaccinated.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I’m delighted we are expanding our vaccination programme to allow parents or guardians to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for their children at vaccination centres across the country.
“This will support the vaccine rollout, ensure young people can get their jabs when it’s convenient including during half-term – providing parents with extra choice over where and when their child is vaccinated.
“Vaccines are safe, will protect children from COVID-19 and prevent further disruption to education. I urge everyone to get their jabs as soon as possible to keep yourself and your family protected this winter as we continue to build our wall of defence across the country.”
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “It is excellent that parents or guardians can soon book a COVID-19 jab for their children at vaccination hubs – making getting a jab even easier during the school holidays and offering greater flexibility to families.
“As we head into the winter months, it is more important than ever that young people get their vaccine as soon as possible to help protect themselves and their families.”
Parents or guardians will be able to book their child in for a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine through the online booking service or they can ring 119.
The NHS has been vaccinating 16- and 17-year olds with a single dose since the start of August, with hundreds of thousands already protected.
Earlier this month, the NHS encouraged pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as data showed that nearly 1 in 5 of the most critically ill COVID patients were unvaccinated pregnant women.