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GPs to deliver second Covid jabs for 12-15s from next week

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

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GP-led vaccination sites that are signed up to the national booking system should start delivering second jabs to 12-15s no later than Monday, NHS England has said.

In a letter sent to PCNs yesterday, NHS England said that while Covid vaccination for 12-15s will continue to be delivered ‘primarily’ by school-based immunisation teams, systems must put plans in place to vaccinate them ‘as quickly as possible’ over the school holidays.

All sites that are part of the national booking system (NBS) and have the ‘appropriate staffing and assurance in place’ must ensure appointments are made available to the group, it added.

It said: ‘There will be children and young people who become eligible for a second dose from the week commencing 13 December and therefore systems will need to ensure capacity is in place over the winter break to offer vaccination out-of-school no later than Monday 20 December 2021. 

‘Systems should now review their out-of-school offer, maximising capacity for those aged 12 to 15 years as quickly as possible. All vaccination services that are part of the NBS and have the appropriate staffing and assurance in place are now asked to ensure appointments are planned and made available to enable the booking for this age group to begin.’

Following this out-of-school ‘winter break offer’, PCN teams may be ‘sub-contracted’ to support school teams delivering second doses from 10 January ‘where required’, the letter added.

There will also continue to be a ‘comprehensive’ out-of-school offer and systems should ‘consider’ how PCNs ‘can support this’, it said.

Meanwhile, an ‘alternative provider’ will be put in place where school teams are unable to provide the service, NHS England said.

It added that further guidance will be published ‘prior to service go-live’.

It comes as UKHSA guidance updated last week said that healthy under-18s could see a shorter interval between their first and second Covid jabs if a new variant sparks ‘concern’ about vaccine effectiveness.

And NHS England revealed yesterday that GP vaccination teams will be expected to deliver Covid booster vaccinations 12 hours a day seven days a week ‘as standard’ as part of the accelerated programme for adults.

The JCVI last month recommended that the booster jab campaign should be expanded to all over-18s in response to the Omicron variant, the interval between second doses and boosters should be reduced to three months and 12 to 15-year-olds should have their second dose 12 weeks after their first dose.

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