The health secretary has asked the NHS to be ‘ready’ to roll out Covid vaccinations for 12-15-year-olds, if given the green light by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Health leaders are ‘scoping out’ how the potential programme will look, Sajid Javid said in an letter published in The Times on Saturday (28 August).
The jabs will be administered by school vaccination teams, as well as at other locations including GP vaccination sites, to ensure full coverage across the country’.
‘The NHS is already agreeing partnerships with providers to recruit and train school aged immunisation teams,’ Mr Javid said.
Currently, only those with health conditions or who live with someone clinically vulnerable have been offered the vaccine in the 12-15 age group.
Parental consent will be sought before vaccinating under-16s, with parents having ‘a critical role to play’, Mr Javid further confirmed.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘In the event a parent has not returned a signed consent form on any potential vaccination programme – but their child wants to have the vaccine – the parent/carer will be contacted to discuss the child’s position and only very rarely proceed only with the child’s consent.’
This is in line with the already established school immunisation process, they added.
‘While we await the advice of our scientific experts, we are doing what responsible governments do and preparing for as many eventualities as possible,’ said Mr Javid.
NHS trusts were asked by NHS England and NHS Improvement last Wednesday for ‘additional detailed planning information’, according to reports in the Telegraph last week.
The news comes as 16-17-year-olds were offered their first Covid vaccine dose this month.
The Moderna Covid vaccine has been authorised for use in 12-17-year-olds, with the MHRA saying this month that it is ‘safe and effective’ in this age group.
The vaccination campaign has now prevented more than 23 million Covid infections and around 85,000 deaths in England, according to Public Health England figures released earlier this month.
Click to complete relevant paediatrics CPD modules on Pulse learning
This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.