Parents and guardians in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can now book their 12-15-year-old an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre.

The move provides parents and carers with an additional option to vaccinate their child from the virus, alongside the school vaccination programme, which has so far given 9,000 young people the jab. The vaccination programme within schools across the county and city will run until the end of November.

The new specialist clinics for 12-15-year-olds can be booked on the National Booking Service and will have around 500 appointments a week for the next three weeks. They will be held at Loughborough Hospital and the Peepul Centre in Leicester one evening a week and at weekends, with the first sessions open from today (Tuesday 26 October) and this weekend (30-31 October 2021). More sites and dates will be added over the coming weeks, so parents are advised to keep checking the booking service. This news follows the letter from NHS England to parents inviting them to check the National Booking Service for appointments.

Children already invited to get the vaccine through their school by the school age immunisation service (SAIS) do not need to book at the vaccination centres, unless parents and carers wish to get their child vaccinated outside of school.

Helen Thompson, director of families, young people and children’s services at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “I’m really pleased we’re able to offer parents, carers and young people flexibility in when and where their children get vaccinated. As part of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s vaccination programme for young people, our school age immunisation service has also been offering catch-up clinics for children who couldn’t get vaccinated on the day we went to their school, for example because they were unwell. These additional clinics at vaccination centres, which will be staffed by specially trained vaccinators, will really help to bolster our offer to help get the vaccine to those who want it quickly and easily.

“With young people facing so much disruption to their schooling over the past 18 months, offering this safe and effective vaccine will give them protection that will help to prevent further disruption to their education this winter – as well helping to protect their friends, family and loved ones.”

Parents and guardians are advised to attend vaccination appointments at vaccination sites with their children if they want them to get vaccinated outside of school hours, so consent can be obtained on the day.

Caroline Trevithick, executive director of nursing, quality and performance at the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland CCGs, said: “I’d like to thank Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust for putting on these sessions for local young people so quickly. We hope these new clinics will also provide an opportunity for those young people or parents, who weren’t initially sure, to take up the offer after having more time to consider the facts about the vaccine and make an informed decision about whether to have it.”

Most young people in this age group are currently only being offered one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, unless they live with someone who is more likely to get infections or they have a condition that means they’re at high risk from COVID-19 – in which case they’re offered two doses.

Recently, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust held webinar sessions with a panel of NHS vaccine programme clinicians from the Trust and the Leicestershire and Rutland CCGs and public health professionals from Leicester City and Leicestershire County Councils to help answer parent and young people’s questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. These are available to re-watch on Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s YouTube channel:

A COVID-19 vaccine guide for parents, is also available to download.

Information for young people is available on the Health for Teens website.