Parents and guardians of youngsters aged five to 11 in Northamptonshire can start booking appointments for their children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from this weekend.
Appointments for every child in this age group can be booked online from Saturday 2 April via the national NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or by calling 119, with vaccinations starting from Monday 4 April at 14 different sites around the county.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends that children aged five to 11 should be offered special paediatric (child) doses of the vaccine to boost immunity and increase their protection against future waves of COVID-19.
In Northamptonshire, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise throughout March. Last week, the number of cases increased by a further 14%* on the previous seven days. Although for most children COVID-19 is a mild illness, for some the symptoms can be more serious and last longer.
Chris Pallot, Director of Northamptonshire’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme said: “This is a very important next step in Northamptonshire’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. As well as protecting against serious COVID infection, by getting vaccinated, children and young people can reduce the risk of passing on the infection to others in their family and those with whom they come into contact.
“We want to support parents to make an informed choice, and to make the vaccination process for this younger age group as easy and as stress-free as possible at all of our participating sites across the county.
“For example, our incredible team at the Northamptonshire COVID-19 Vaccination Centre in Moulton Park have been busy preparing to welcome young children by painting and decorating walls and panels to make their experience as family-friendly and fun as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, the fantastic teams at our vaccination sites are always happy to help.
“It’s completely understandable as a parent to be concerned about vaccinations when it comes to young children. Please bear in mind that by the time children leave school, they will typically have been offered vaccinations against 18 different diseases and infections. The COVID-19 vaccine is one more that children can have to protect them from serious illness.”
Parents are able to get their children vaccinated at a site and time convenient for them at participating vaccinations sites across the county – including in Corby, Daventry, Towcester, Rushden, Kettering, Thrapston and Northampton.
Some local GP services are also offering jabs to this age group, and participating GP practices will be in touch with parents and guardians to offer appointments.
Children aged five to 11 with no other underlying health conditions will be offered two paediatric (child) doses of the vaccine, with at least 12 weeks between doses. A paediatric dose is smaller than doses given to those aged 12 and over.
If a child has had COVID-19 they will still get extra protection from the vaccine, but they will need to wait 12 weeks before getting vaccinated.
Those aged five to 11 years old who are more at risk from the virus can already get two paediatric doses, eight weeks apart, and the NHS should be in touch with parents and guardians to arrange this.
Everyone eligible for vaccine urged to come forward for your COVID-19 vaccinations
Thousands of bookable appointments and several drop-in clinics continue to be open for anyone aged 12 or over for first and second doses, first boosters for those aged 16 and over, and third primary doses for those eligible.
Chris Pallot continues: “Restrictions may have been lifted but we must not get complacent. COVID-19 is still here and it’s still spreading rapidly. In Northamptonshire cases have been rising so please come forward for your vaccine, whether that’s a first or second dose, or for those eligible, a booster dose.”
Last week, those invited for a spring booster were able to start getting their top-up jabs. Those eligible include adults aged 75 or over, adults that live in care homes for older adults and individuals aged 12 years and over who have weakened immune systems. Everyone who is eligible will be offered a top up over the spring and early summer.
Walk-in sessions are not yet available for those receiving the spring booster, which are currently being offered by appointment only.