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Covid vaccine rollout for children begins next week

The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations for all children aged 5-11 years begins next week – from Monday, April 4.

Parents and guardians of children in this age group do not need to wait to be invited by the NHS and can book an appointment using the online National Booking Service, by calling 119, or by going to one of the no-appointment walk-in clinics across the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System area. Online and telephone bookings open from tomorrow (Saturday, April 2).

The vaccinations are not being offered in schools, so children will need to be taken to a vaccination centre, a walk-in clinic or a participating pharmacy. Children will be offered a children’s dose of the Pfizer vaccine and those at greater risk of serious illness if they catch Covid 19 will need two doses of vaccine, eight weeks apart. All other children will be offered two doses of vaccine 12 weeks apart.

Up until now Covid-19 vaccinations for those aged between 5-11 have been limited to children who are clinically vulnerable or who have suppressed immune systems as a result of an underlying health condition. The extension of eligibility follows the recommendation of the JCVI that vaccines for all 5-11 -year olds are important in order to encourage immunity and increase protection against any future waves of Covid.

Elizabeth Moloney, who is leading the roll-out of the vaccination programme across the ICS patch, said: “The Covid 19 vaccination will help protect your child against the virus, and I urge parents to consider how taking up this offer will give long-lasting defence against serious complications of the virus, including long Covid. By extending the roll-out to all 5 – 11-year olds we are in line with many other countries such as France, Germany and the USA which have been offering vaccination to this age group for several months."

Ms Moloney added: “We know the vaccine is safe and effective, but I urge anyone with concerns or questions to contact our local helpline on 0344 257 3961. You won’t be judged as we know this is a big decision. By speaking with a healthcare professional, we’ll be able to answer your questions with trusted facts and accurate information. We urge you not to seek those answers from unverified internet sources, as they are very often dangerously inaccurate."

The National Booking Service can be accessed here.

The local vaccination website including a list of walk-in clinics and frequently asked questions is here.

A leaflet explaining vaccinations for 5-11-year olds can be downloaded here.

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