Ahead of the Easter break in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the local NHS is encouraging children aged 5-11 to become ‘vax heroes’, by getting vaccinated against Covid during this holiday period. Nationally, almost five million children in this age group are eligible for two doses of the vaccine following updated JCVI guidance, which recommended children can benefit from the vaccine. A number of local clinics are already providing vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds, with more sites coming online throughout the holidays. The majority of vaccines for children are taking place at local vaccination centres or community pharmacies outside of school hours and are available to book through the online booking service or by calling 119. There are also convenient local vaccine walk-ins across our area including a ‘drive-thru’ centre at Glenfield. Opening times are available on the CCG website.

Dr Caroline Trevithick, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Performance and Deputy Chief Executive of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The Easter break is a perfect chance to make sure the whole family is up to date with Covid vaccinations. As well as all 5-11s now being able to get the jab, another recent addition is the spring booster for over 75 year olds and people of other ages who are clinically vulnerable, six months after their last dose.

“Our clinics are making the vaccination experience easier for younger children, with cartoons to watch on TV and activities on offer such as colouring, to help calm any nerves, and each child will get a certificate after their vaccination. Our clinic in Cosby has even set up a special room decorated in the ‘Frozen’ theme.

“While we’re slowly learning to live with covid, keeping vaccinations up to date is a highly important step to staying as safe as we can, so while you have a break from work or other commitments, I really encourage everyone who’s eligible to get that jab.”

Children aged 5-11 with no other underlying health conditions will be offered two paediatric (child) doses of the vaccine, with at least 12 weeks between doses. A paediatric dose is smaller than doses given to those aged 12 and over. If a child has had COVID-19 they will still get extra protection from the vaccine, but they will need to wait 12 weeks before getting vaccinated. Those 5-11 year-olds who are more at risk from the virus can already get two paediatric (child) doses, eight weeks apart, and their GP or hospital specialist should be in touch to arrange this.

There are plenty of clinics taking place locally over the school holidays. More information on clinics, locations and times is available at: https://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/my-health/coronavirus-advice/coronavirus-vaccine/.