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Tens of thousands of children aged 12 to 15 booked in for Covid-19 jabs

·3-min read

More than 80,000 children aged between 12 and 15 have been booked in online to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.

A total of more than 2.5 million letters are landing on doorsteps this week inviting parents to book a jab for their child this half-term through the national booking service.

There are more than 100 existing vaccination centres – including the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and Montgomery Hall in London – which have already opened their doors to this age group.

Vaccines have been available to 12 to 15-year-olds in England since September 20, but so far the rollout has been delivered mostly in schools.

But since Friday evening, parents and guardians have been able to book Covid-19 jabs online at local sites for their 12 to 15-year-old children.

NHS England said more than 80,000 children in this age group had booked in for a vaccine by Tuesday morning – and nearly 33,000 bookings were made on Monday alone.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme, said: “The NHS is making it as easy as possible for parents to get their child protected this half-term, with tens of thousands of young people booking in online with their families so far.

“It’s really important that we keep that momentum going if we want to ensure children get to stay in the classroom with their classmates this winter so if you’re thinking about getting your child vaccinated, I would encourage you to head online and look at the information.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our historic vaccine rollout continues to go from strength to strength, and more than 80,000 young people aged 12 to 15 have now booked in to receive their jab.

“The vaccines are available to young people through a tried and tested school immunisation programme and parents or guardians can book a jab at local vaccination sites, making it easier and more convenient for everyone to secure this important protection ahead of the winter months.

“The vaccines are safe and help keep children in the classroom so they can learn and spend time with their friends.”

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “This fantastic progress means that we are strengthening our wall of defence against the virus and I urge as many people as possible to come forward for a jab as soon as they can.”

This week, Mr Javid hit out at “idiots” who mount anti-vaccine protests outside schools as he said exclusion zones are an option to protect children.

A secondary school headteacher in Liverpool told the PA news agency that pupils were left feeling “upset” and “intimidated” by anti-vaccination protesters after they blocked their path when leaving school earlier this month.

Only around a quarter of the eligible students came forward to have their Covid-19 vaccine at the school a few days after the campaigners targeted children at the school gates, the head said.

He added that the school, which is running another vaccination day onsite due to low take-up, is paying extra staff to be on duty “in case anti-vaxxers” show up.

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