The Health and Social Care Secretary has announced that people aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
In line with the recommendation of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the government sought advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers and has based the decision on their advice and guidance.
The NHS is now preparing to deliver a schools-based vaccination programme, a model previously used for vaccinations including HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP), supported by GPs and community pharmacies. Invitations for vaccination will begin next week.
Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes.
Healthy school-aged children aged 12 to 15 will primarily receive their COVID-19 vaccination in their school with alternative provision for those who are home schooled, in secure services or specialist mental health settings.
Over 4 in 5 adults across the UK have received both COVID-19 vaccine doses, with over half of all 16 and 17 year olds coming forward for their first jab.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “I have accepted the recommendation from the Chief Medical Officers to expand vaccination to those aged 12 to 15 – protecting young people from catching COVID-19, reducing transmission in schools and keeping pupils in the classroom.
“I am very grateful for the expert advice I have received from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and UK Chief Medical Officers. Our outstanding NHS stands ready to move forward with rolling out the vaccine to this group with the same sense of urgency we’ve had at every point in our vaccination programme.”