CV19 vaccine: Jabs offered to 12-15-year-olds at 800 schools

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More than 800 secondary schools across England will be visited by health teams from Monday 1st November to offer the coronavirus vaccine to children aged 12 to 15.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the vaccines “will help keep children in the classroom”.

More than 600,000 children have received the vaccination since the rollout was extended last month, according to NHS England.

And 163,000 received a jab in the last week after the national booking system was opened up to eligible under-16s.

Last month, the UK’s chief medical officers recommended that children aged between 12 – 15 be offered 1 dose of a CV19 vaccine.
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The goal to vaccinate pupils as most will be returning after half-term comes as cases in England remain high.

Mr Javid said: “The vaccines are safe and will help keep children in the classroom – I encourage everyone to come forward for their jab to protect themselves and the people around them.
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Children can also make an appointment via the national booking system to visit a vaccination centre in their own time.

140,000 children have already made appointments to book their vaccine over the next few weeks, NHS England said.

Prof Adam Finn, a paediatrician who is a member of the UK vaccine expert group the JCVI, said vaccinating teenagers would “minimise the chance of disruption to education, which is really the major harm that the pandemic has done to our children”.

But he spoke on BBC Breakfast saying it would also increase the overall levels of immunity in the population, helping to reduce the spread of the virus.

As the US Food and Drug Administration have approved the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds, Prof Finn said the UK and EU are likely to follow suit.

But he said a decision on whether the vaccine would be given out to younger children would depend on whether it is necessary at that moment in the pandemic.

Dr Nikki Kanani, the deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccine programme, said efforts to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds “will not stop”.

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Dr Kanani, who also works as a GP, added: “It’s really important that we continue with the same enthusiasm if we want to ensure children get to stay in the classroom with their fellow pupils this winter, and so I encourage all parents and guardians to head online and read the information on vaccinating your child, so you can make an informed decision.”

Pupils are also being urged to get tested for coronavirus before returning to school to reduce disruption to lessons.

Throughout the UK, 41,278 more positive cases were announced on yesterday, and the weekly average remains above 40,000 cases.
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Most areas in England have more than 400 cases per 100,000 people.

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