HEALTH leaders in Hampshire are encouraging parents to book a Covid-19 jab for children after more than 14,000 aged five to 11 have already had the vaccine in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

In April, children aged between five and 11 began to receive their invitation from the NHS to get vaccinated.

This came after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended all children would benefit from the vaccine to help protect against potential future waves of Covid-19 and the risk of series illness.

Since then, more than 14,000 children in the county have had their first dose.

Children with underlying health conditions were invited to have their jab before April.

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and clinical lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “The response to the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Hampshire and Isle of Wight has been fantastic. I would like to reassure children and parents that their safety is our top priority and no new vaccine for children would have been approved if it hadn’t been through a detailed safety review.

“Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 helps protect children and their families against this virus, as well as reducing the impact it can have on our children’s education so I would strongly urge everyone eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Children aged five to 11 who have had Covid-19 recently should leave 12 weeks between when they were positive to when they book their vaccination.

While children aged between five and 11 who are at high risk from Covid-19 or live with someone who has a weakened immune system must wait four weeks after first having symptoms.

The vaccine gives stronger protection than natural immunity and lowers the risk of passing it onto others.

While demand has been high for appointments for this age group, some mass vaccination centres have seen around 20 per cent (110 appointments on May 15) missed.

This means others waiting to get vaccinated are delayed. The clinical commissioning group is asking anyone who cannot attend to rebook in advance through the national booking system or contacting 119.

Anyone with questions about getting their child vaccinated can contact the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 helpline on 0300 561 0018.

Angela Anderson, deputy chief nurse and clinical director for the vaccination service at Solent NHS Trust, said: “The decision to get your child vaccinated, as a parent or guardian, is yours. Not only can the vaccine help protect your child against serious Covid infection, it can also reduce the risk of passing on the infection to others.

“So, if you or your child haven’t yet received the vaccine, why not book an appointment or come and speak to the teams at one of our centres as soon as you are able - they will be there to welcome you and answer any questions you may have.

“Our five to 11 vaccination clinics have been really positive, and our fantastic teams have created a child and family friendly atmosphere to ensure that children are as comfortable as possible when getting their jabs, with games and toys available for children to play with and regular visits from our therapy dog.

“We’re proud of the work we are doing as part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight programme and have had great feedback from both parents and children.”

Anyone eligible who has not yet taken up the offer of a first, second or booster dose is strongly encouraged to do so without delay to ensure they are as protected as possible from the virus.

The offer of a Covid-19 jab is not time-limited so anyone invited can have the vaccine – even if they have previously declined and changed their mind.

For further information about the Covid vaccine click here


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