Parents and carers in Walsall can now book appointments for their children aged between five and 11 to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Routine vaccinations for babies, pre-school children and adults are continuing as normal.
This comes following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that from Monday 4 April, five to 11 year olds with no underlying health conditions will be offered two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, given 12 weeks apart.
Local vaccination teams have already vaccinated nearly half of all 12 to 15-year-olds in the borough. More recently, they have started vaccinating children under 12 who have medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 or who live with someone with a weakened immune system.
Parents and carers can book appointments online via the National Booking System or by calling 119. The Saddlers Vaccination Centre now located at the former Urgent Care Centre on Bridgeman Street will offer appointments outside of school hours, with dedicated support and specially trained staff in place to cater for the needs of younger children.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health said:
“It is important that routine immunisations for children and young people are maintained and up to date, and COVID-19 vaccinations will be a part of this to keep children safe. Immunisation provides benefits of being highly effective at preventing disease and reducing serious illness in life-threatening infections such as meningitis.
“COVID-19 is usually mild in most children, but it can make some children unwell. One dose of the COVID-19 vaccine gives good protection, but two doses will provide long-term protection against the illness for children.
“Vaccination remains the best defence against the virus, and it is safe and effective. Vaccinating children reduces the risk of serious illness to your child and others.
“I encourage parents and carers to have a conversation with their children about the vaccination and to book online through the National Booking System or by calling 119. Appointments are available outside of school hours at the Saddlers Vaccination Centre.
“With the school holidays approaching, it provides a good opportunity for you and your family to get vaccinated and be fully protected.”
Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“For decades, vaccinations have protected our children and young people from potentially serious diseases, including measles, flu, meningitis and mumps.
“By the time they leave school, a child will typically have been offered vaccinations against 18 different diseases or infections. The COVID-19 vaccine is one more vaccine that children will be able to have to protect them from illness.
“Like all children’s vaccines, this approval was given following a robust review of data showing that it is safe and effective to use for children in this age group.
“We know that getting vaccinated can be daunting for some people, particularly children and young people who may be scared of needles. That’s why we have dedicated teams at our sites offering vaccines to 5-11-year-olds, to make the process as easy as possible for young children and their families.
“The vaccine is the best protection we have against this virus and I would encourage all parents and guardians who have children eligible for a vaccine to come forward as soon as possible.
“If you have any concerns or questions about getting your child vaccinated, please speak to a clinician at the vaccination site.”
Notes to editor
- Parents and carers do not need to wait for a letter to book their child(ren) in for an appointment.
- Children do not need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to be vaccinated, but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian as parental consent is required. To find out more about COVID-19 vaccinations for 5-11-year-olds, click here.
- To book appointments, visit the NHS website: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination. Appointments can also be booked by calling 119, which is available in 200 languages. Those who need help from a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter can use the free online 119 BSL interpreter service from SignVideo.
- It is important to go to your appointments unless you or your child have symptoms of COVID-19.
- If a child tests positive for COVID, they should wait:
- 12 weeks (84 days) if the child is aged 5 to 17 years old (from the date of positive test or when symptoms started).
- 4 weeks (28 days) if the child aged 5 to 17 years old and at high risk from COVID-19, or live with someone who has a weakened immune system (from the date of positive test or when symptoms started).
- Children aged 5 to 11 will be offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vaccine is a third (10 micrograms) of the dose of vaccine that is given to older children and adults.
- Children in the same age group at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19 will need 2 doses of vaccine, 8 weeks apart. All other children will be offered 2 doses of vaccine 12 weeks apart.
- Children aged 12 to 15 and at high risk from COVID-19, can get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they had a 2nd dose at least 3 months ago.
- The guide for parents of children aged 5 to 11 years can be found on the GOV.UK website. You can also visit the NHS page Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for children aged 5 to 15 for more information.