Following a Government announcement earlier this week that all 12-15 year olds in England will be offered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the local NHS has been working at pace to put arrangements in place.
The vaccinations will be provided by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s Community Immunisation Service, with the first vaccinations taking place in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland secondary schools as early as next week. Most vaccinations are expected to have taken place before half term in October with the rest by early November.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme in secondary schools will provide protection to children who are vaccinated and help to reduce disruption to face to face education this winter. Very few healthy children and young people with COVID-19 infection go on to have severe disease but vaccinating them should help to reduce the need for them to have time off school and to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools.
The Community Immunisation Service already provide the flu and HPV vaccination programmes in local schools and are experienced in providing vaccinations that meet the needs of this age group, while minimising disruption to the school day.
Head teachers have today received letters from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust to let them know when the Immunisation Service plans to provide vaccinations at their school. Parents will soon receive a letter from their child’s school informing them about the vaccination and how to give consent for their child to be vaccinated.
The Immunisation Service initially only plans to be in each school for a single day, but arrangements are being made for several drop-in clinics in schools – out of hours – for children who couldn’t attend on the day. There will also be special clinics for home-schooled children and those deemed ‘clinical at risk*’.
Parents can find more information about the vaccination programme by visiting https://www.healthforteens.co.uk/health/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination-information/ and selecting Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland from the drop-down menu.
Several online Q&A sessions with a panel of health professionals will be available for parents in the next couple of weeks. Details will be shared with parents via their child’s school.
Caroline Trevithick, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Performance at the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland CCGs, said: “I would like to thank Leicestershire Partnership Trust for putting the Covid-19 vaccination programme in place for local schools so quickly, and our local schools for supporting the process and facilitating a dialogue with parents. The arrangements have had to be put in place at pace in line with the Government announcement at considerable pace. We ask that parents and young people read the information that is sent to them, together, and complete the online consent form as quickly as possible so we can maximise the number of vaccinations given on the allocated day for each school.
Suzanne Leatherhead, Clinical Lead at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust adds: “We are very pleased to offer the Covid-19 vaccination through our school aged immunisations service. We are working closely with all schools to ensure that all appropriate COVID safety measures are in place to ensure the safe delivery of the vaccine. We encourage parents to look out for the information we send out via schools, and are happy to discuss any concerns or additional support your child may need.”
*clinically at risk is classified as having any of the following medical conditions:
- severe neurodisabilities
- immunosuppression – those whose immune systems don’t work as well and also those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed
- profound and multiple or severe learning disabilities
- being on the learning disability register
- those living with Down’s syndrome
- those living with long term serious conditions affecting your body.
Parents of children clinically at risk can ring the central booking team on 0116 4975700 so that they can discuss specialist support or clinics for them.