Online Covid Vaccine Booking For Children Aged 12 To 15 From Next Week

Health secretary announces move designed "to make the most of half-term" in England.
Damien Storan via PA Wire/PA Images

Children aged between 12 and 15 years old in England will be able use the national online booking service to secure their Covid jabs from next week, the health secretary has announced.

Up until now those under 16 eligible for the vaccine have only been able to receive it through schools.

But speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Sajid Javid said this would now change “to make the most of half-term next week”.

“We will now be opening up the national booking service to all 12 to 15-year-olds to have their Covid vaccinations in existing national vaccination centres, which will offer families more flexibility,” he told MPs.

“I think it is important that anyone who is invited as eligible for a vaccine, including young people, that they do come forward and take up that offer.”

Covid-19 cases in the UK are at their highest level for almost three months, with the seven-day average standing at 44,145 cases per day.

Hospital admissions and deaths are also slowly creeping up, though vaccines are still working well overall to prevent severe disease.

It came as a leading member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said it was “critical” that the Covid booster programme is accelerated.

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said there is a need to speed up boosters and the vaccination of teenagers, who he suggested should be given two doses of a jab to block infection and transmission.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ferguson, whose data was instrumental to the UK going into lockdown in March 2020, said the UK had higher Covid cases than other countries for a number of reasons.

“First of all, we have lower functional immunity in our population than most other Western European countries and that’s for two reasons,” he said.

“Partly, we were very successful in getting vaccination rolled out early and we know that gradually immunity wanes over time after you’ve had that second dose, so how early we were means we are a bit more vulnerable.

“Second, we relied more on the AstraZeneca vaccine and, while that protects very well against very severe outcomes of Covid, it protects slightly less well than Pfizer against infection and transmission, particularly in the face of the Delta variant.

“And finally, we just sit behind a few other countries, not dramatically, but we’re no longer in the top rank of European countries in terms of overall vaccination coverage, particularly vaccinating teenagers.

“Overall coverage rates here are considerably lower, for instance, than in Spain, Portugal and Denmark.”


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