The vaccination role out is well underway, the latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University shows that the vaccines have already saved around 84,600 lives and prevented 23.4 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations in England up to 6 August
The Government have announced that all young people aged 16 to 17 in England are to be offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday 23 August to give them protection before returning to school. Tens of thousands of people in this age group have already been vaccinated at local vaccination sites and walk-in centres across the country and the drive to offer a first jab by the new date will allow those teenagers in that age bracket the two weeks necessary to build maximum immunity.
If you yourself are in this age range or you are a parent or carer for somebody who and have not yet had their first jab you may wish to know more. NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (Tees Valley CCG) have shared some information to aid clarification and have answered some frequently asked questions below:
The CCG is working with partners to understand the guidance and develop new, clinically safe processes around ensuring that the correct children are identified and invited to receive their vaccines.
Who is eligible?
Not all children and young people will be invited to have a vaccination, groups have been selected based on a combination of factors including their risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, passing it to others who may become seriously ill, and evidence of safety and effectiveness. The groups that have been identified are:
• 12-15-year olds ‘at risk’ with the underlying health conditions specified below: severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
• Children aged 12 years and older without underlying medical conditions who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed (this is in addition to 16– 17-year-olds in this group, who became eligible earlier in the year).
• All 16–17-year-olds will be offered the first dose of COVID vaccine. This is in addition to the existing offer of two doses of vaccine to 16–17-year-olds who are in ‘at-risk’ groups
• 17-year-olds that are within 3 months of turning 18.
How to access a vaccination
The NHS will be contacting parents of children and young people in these groups inviting them to book their vaccinations. Eligible 12–15-year-olds will be invited by local vaccination services.
Young people who are within 3 months of turning 18 will be invited to book their appointments via the national booking service at the appropriate time.
For the most up to date information from NHS Tees Valley CCG visit their website: www.teesvalleyccg.nhs.uk
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the NHS only vaccinating some children and young people against COVID-19, and not all?
The NHS vaccinates in line with guidance from the independent JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), which provides expert advice on vaccinations to UK health departments. The JCVI recommends that only certain groups of children and young people are vaccinated because of a combination of factors including their risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, passing it to others who may become seriously ill, and evidence of safety and effectiveness.
How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child?
The JCVI has reviewed extensive clinical evidence for the safety of giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people in the eligible groups and have determined it to be safe and effective. The JCVI has determined that the benefit of vaccinating children in these groups outweighs the risks.
My child is in one of the eligible groups. How do I arrange his/her vaccination?
The NHS is aiming to offer vaccination to all children and young people in the eligible groups by the start of the autumn term in September. If your child is in one of the new groups recommended for vaccination by the JCVI, you will be contacted by the NHS before then to arrange for your child’s vaccinations. If you are within 3 months of turning 18, you will be invited directly to book your appointments via the national booking service at the appropriate time.
My child is not in one of the eligible groups. When will they be able to be vaccinated?
There are no current plans to vaccinate children and young people outside of the eligible groups. However, the JCVI is continually reviewing evidence on this matter and will advise the Government if it decides that a change of approach is required.
For further information visit: www.teesvalleyccg.nhs.uk