Parents can book jabs online for children aged 12 to 15 from Friday
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Parents in England can book Covid-19 jabs online for children aged between 12 and 15 from Friday evening with appointments available as early as the weekend, it has been announced.
People will be able to check the national booking system to see if their local site has appointments, which will begin from Saturday.
If a child has already been invited to be jabbed through their school, parents do not need to book unless they wish to get their child vaccinated outside of school.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid had previously told MPs the move would “make the most of half-term”.
Millions of letters are set to be sent to parents over the coming weeks, inviting them to book the vaccine online or by calling 119.
It will provide an additional option for them to book a vaccine for their child, alongside the schools programme which has already vaccinated nearly half a million young people.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme, said: “As we head in to October half-term, the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme is opening up vaccine centres to young people aged 12 to 15 as another way to get their vaccine – if they have already received their vaccine or been invited through their school then they do not need to do anything.”
Mr Javid said: “I’m delighted we are expanding our vaccination programme to allow parents or guardians to book Covid-19 vaccine appointments for their children at vaccination centres across the country.
“This will support the vaccine rollout, ensure young people can get their jabs when it’s convenient including during half-term – providing parents with extra choice over where and when their child is vaccinated.”
It comes after headteachers’ unions called for vaccines to be offered to pupils in walk-in centres, as well as school, after figures revealed the scale of the low take-up of the Covid-19 jab among the cohort.
Data from the Department for Education (DfE) shows the number of children out of school for Covid-19 related reasons in England has risen recently.
The DfE estimates that 2.6% of all pupils –around 209,000 children – were not in class for reasons connected to coronavirus on Thursday last week.
This is up from more than 204,000 children, or 2.5% of all pupils, on September 30.