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GPs given 14 January opt-out deadline for vaccinating 5-11s against Covid

GPs given 14 January opt-out deadline for vaccinating 5-11s against Covid

GPs have been given until 14 January to opt-out of delivering Covid jabs to children aged five to 11.

However, all practices will be required to run local searches to identify eligible patients in the cohort, NHS England said.

It comes after the Government last month accepted new JCVI advice that vulnerable children over five should be offered a Covid vaccine, among other groups.

This includes children aged 5-11 who are in a clinical risk group or a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed.

In a letter sent to practices last month, NHS England said: ‘All PCN-led sites are encouraged to support the vaccination of this small, vulnerable group, but can choose to opt-out of vaccinating this cohort by informing their local commissioner by 14 January 2022.

‘Please note all GP practices will be asked to undertake local searches for 5-11-year-olds in a clinical risk group and to help identify those who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed in January regardless of participation in vaccination.’

It added that further detail, including search criteria, will be shared ‘in the new year’.

Hospital-led sites will be expected to help identify and vaccinate the group, while vaccination centres and pharmacy-led sites ‘may be commissioned where required to ensure sufficient coverage’, it said.

Vaccinations for this cohort – as well as booster doses for vulnerable 12-15s – should not begin until NHS England has advised the start date for each group, the letter added.

Jabs for both cohorts are due to begin this month, it said.

All practices will also be asked to identify eligible 12-15s from their lists, with more details to be published ‘in the new year’, NHS England added.

The JCVI also recommended last month that all 16-17s, as well as 12-15s who are clinically vulnerable, a household contact of an immunosuppressed person or themselves ‘severely immunosuppressed’ and having had a third primary dose, should be offered a Covid booster jab.

They should receive 30 micrograms of the Pfizer vaccine no sooner than three months after completing their primary course of Covid vaccinations, it said.

According to the JCVI advice, eligible 5-11s should be offered two 10-microgram doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid jab eight weeks apart and each dose at least four weeks after any Covid infection.

Further advice on Covid jabs for other 5-11s ‘will be issued in due course following consideration of additional data’, it said.

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