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GPs can now invite eligible children aged 12-15 for Covid booster jab

children covid booster

The NHS is now offering Covid-19 booster vaccines to children aged 12-15 years who are in a clinical risk group, are severely immunocompromised themselves or are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed.

It follows updated guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that young people aged 16 and 17 should also be offered a booster from this week.

Those 12 to 15 year olds who are eligible will either be contacted by local vaccination services or can visit a walk-in site with an invitation from the national service or their GP or specialist, a general practice update said.

The booster must be given three months after the primary vaccine course, the guidance states.

Clinical risk groups for children include chronic respiratory and heart conditions, diabetes and those with chronic neurological disease including Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

The committee also noted ‘broadly persons aged 12 to 15 years who are in a clinical risk group are at higher risk from serious Covid-19 than persons aged 16 to 17 years who are not in a clinical risk group. Where appropriate, deployment teams may wish to take these factors into account for operational purposes.’

NHS England said it was ‘vital these groups receive a booster vaccination to protect themselves and those around them from Covid-19, especially with the Omicron variant in circulation’.

Around 40,000 teenagers became eligible for a booster in Monday as the national booking service opened for 16 and 17 year olds with more being offered the jab in coming weeks as they reached three months since their second dose.

This comes as the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) last week launched a campaign to encourage younger people to get boosted, as only 57% of eligible 18- to 34-year-olds in England have had their top-up jab.

All GP practices have also been asked to immediately begin identifying 5-11 year olds who are eligible for Covid vaccination because they are in a clinical risk group or live with someone who is immunosuppressed.

It comes as NHS England said GP practices must ‘immediately’ begin identifying 5-11s who are eligible for a Covid vaccine.

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