Covid-19 vaccination clinics across Derby and Derbyshire are preparing to welcome children over the half-term break in an effort to protect young people and their families.
Vaccination remains an important element in preventing the spread of Covid-19, as most children mix with each other at school and can then pass the virus to vulnerable family members, including grandparents.
Vaccination clinics are making special preparations, with vaccinators specially trained in working with children and many sites creating child-friendly spaces.
The clinics will help families who want to be vaccinated together, enabling siblings and parents to all be vaccinated at the same time. This can be particularly useful for families who are travelling away together for holidays.
Vaccinations for children aged 5-11 have not yet started, except for those children who are at high risk from Covid-19 and have been contacted by the GP to make a booking.
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Derby City Council's Director of Public Health, Dr Robyn Dewis, said it was in important opportunity to get young people vaccinated: "The pandemic is not over and the COVID virus is still circulating, and is currently at the highest levels in young people.
“While they are at much lower risk of becoming severely ill from a COVID infection, young people’s mental health and wellbeing is affected by disruption to school and extracurricular activities through illness. Being vaccinated not only reduces the risk of being infected, it can also help to protect against future variants and long COVID.
"There is also a serious risk that they can pass it to vulnerable family members, such as grandparents. We still need to take sensible precautions against contracting and transmitting Covid-19."
“The half term break is an opportunity for 12-15 year olds to come forward for their first or second dose of the vaccine and minimise disruption to their education from any temporary flu-like side effects of the jab.
"The teams working in the clinics are very experienced at vaccinating younger people and can put them at their ease. They're also incredibly welcoming and flexible in the way they work, so they can accommodate families."
Derbyshire County Council’s Director of Public Health Dean Wallace said: “The vaccine is our key defence against COVID-19 and the half-term break is a good opportunity for families to get their first, second or booster doses.
“Alongside getting vaccinated, we would encourage people to continue washing their hands regularly and ensuring spaces are well ventilated. This combined approach helps keep both individuals and the community safe and has enabled many of us get back to something like a ‘normal’ life.”