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Covid jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds: how the UK scheme works

Covid jabs

Covid jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds: how the UK scheme works

As concerns grow about the slow deployment of Covid jabs to older children we take a look at who is eligible and where the vaccinations can be given.

Which children are now eligible for vaccination?

All children in the UK aged 12 to 15 are now eligible for a Covid jab. The decision was made by the UK’s chief medical officers after consideration of a range of evidence, including the impact on education.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation previously said that while the health benefits of vaccinating this entire age group were greater than the risks, they were not enough on their own to support the move; they then advised that the jabs only be given to children either at risk from Covid or living with someone at risk.

Healthy 12- to 15-year-olds are being offered one Covid jab at the moment, but those vulnerable to Covid, or living with someone who is, will be offered two doses eight weeks apart.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines have been approved for use in the UK for children aged 12 to 17. But the NHS website suggests that at present under 18s are only offered the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

Where will children be vaccinated?

According to the NHS and the UK Health Security Agency, Covid jabs will be delivered to most children in schools, during the premises’ open hours, by local school age immunisation services (SAIS) – the same programme that coordinates other school-based jabs such as those against meningitis and HPV.

Letters about when this will happen will be sent by the school. According to NHS England 12- to 15-year-olds who have underlying health conditions can also be flagged for vaccination by their GP and invited to book a jab.

Children who are home schooled, or who do not attend for another reason, will also have the chance to receive a Covid jab. “Parents and guardians will be contacted about when and where the vaccine will be offered,” the NHS said.

Can you get your child vaccinated at a walk-in centre or elsewhere?

All those aged over 18 can get vaccinated at a walk-in centre, however not all centres offer shots to those under the age of 18. An NHS website allows users to find their nearest walk-in vaccination centre and see whether it offers vaccinations to those aged 16 and over, or adults only.

The website states: “If you’re under 16 and eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine you cannot use these walk-in sites to get vaccinated. Please wait to be contacted by the NHS.”

What are the rules on consent?

As with other vaccinations at schools, parents or guardians will be asked for consent for their child. However if this is not given and the child wants to be vaccinated the guidelines say the vaccination teams will decide whether the child is able to make an informed decision. If the child is “Gillick competent” – able to make the decision – providers will try to discuss the matter with parents or guardians, but they cannot stand in the way if such a child wants to have the jab.

If a child has had Covid this term is there any benefit to their having a vaccination?

A natural infection is likely to create some immunity and this response may be broader than would be elicited by vaccination alone – although few studies have looked at just how high this level of natural protection is in children, and there may be variation between individuals. Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, speaking at an inquiry into Covid-19 and children’s vaccination by the Education Committee, said the levels of protection could be on a par with those arising from vaccination.

“I would anticipate that vaccines and natural immunity in the sense of if you got infected, let us assume, will be broadly similar. I would secondly assume that it will take longer probably to wane in children than in older adults, just because we know that in older adults things tend to wane. That is an assumption. Both of those may be untrue,” he said.

But experts say that even if a child has some natural protection this is likely to be boosted by vaccination, giving better protection, as seen in adults.

“The jab will boost and prolong their protective immunity. Latest data also shows that adults who are double jabbed after having had a natural infection have better levels of protection,” said Prof Lawrence Young, of Warwick University.

Prof Danny Altmann, of Imperial College London, agreed. “From an immunology standpoint the clear answer would be an overwhelming ‘yes’ to the notion of getting vaccinated even if recently infected.”

That chimes with information from the British Society for Immunology and UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium which states: “It’s likely that for most people vaccination against Covid-19 will induce more effective and longer lasting immunity than that induced by natural infection with the virus. Even if you’ve had Covid-19 you’re recommended to get the vaccine because it will boost whatever immunity you have from natural infection.”

According to the guidelines people should not attend a vaccine appointment within four weeks of having a positive Covid-19 test, or if self-isolating or waiting for a Covid-19 test.

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They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

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This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

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