Advice as vaccinations start in Cambridgeshire for 12 to 15 year-olds
Young people aged between 12 and 15 are being reminded of the importance of being vaccinated against Covid-19 as the roll-out for this age group starts in Cambridgeshire.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) all agree that while Covid-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in most young people, it can be very unpleasant for some and one dose of the vaccine will provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.
Vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds should also help to reduce the need for young people to have time off school and reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19 within schools.
The Covid-19 secondary schools vaccine programme should therefore provide protection to young people and reduce the disruption to face-to-face education.
In Cambridgeshire, 32per cent of recorded Covid cases for the week ending September 22 were in the 10 to 14 age group. A further 11per cent were amongst those aged 15 to 19.
The Covid-19 vaccine helps to reduce the chance of Covid-19 infection and provides good protection against serious disease. It may take a few weeks to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine.
Like all school-based vaccination programmes, the vaccines will be administered by the school age immunisation service provider, working closely with the school. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough this will be done by the Hertfordshire and East Anglia Community and School Age Immunisation Service.
For any young people aged 12 to 15 years who do not receive their vaccine on the vaccine day, there will be catch-up arrangements in place that the school age immunisation service provider will be able to share with the school.
This includes any young person who turns 12 years of age after the day the school age immunisation service provider visits the school.
All parents, or those with parental responsibility, are asked for consent and will usually make this decision jointly with their children.
In secondary schools, some young people may be mature enough to provide their own consent. This sometimes occurs if a parent has not returned a consent form but the child still wishes to have the vaccine on the day of the session. Every effort will be made to contact the parent to seek their verbal consent.
This is a well-established process which parents will be familiar with from other school-based vaccination programmes.
Councillor Bryony Goodliffe, chair of Cambridgeshire’s children and young people committee, said: “The vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds which starts in Cambridgeshire schools this week is an essential part of our continued efforts to keep our children in education, keep families and communities safe and protect our NHS, and is something we fully support.
“We also want to be clear that this is an offer of vaccination. It is up to pupils, their parents and carers to decide whether or not they get vaccinated. Whatever their choice, we would urge people to be respectful of each other and keep in mind that the role of schools is limited to hosting vaccination sessions and dealing with associated communications.
“We are aware of reports nationally of headteachers or other school staff receiving threats or facing intimidation as the vaccination programme rolls out. We want to be clear that we will not tolerate abuse of school staff – who have worked valiantly throughout the pandemic - and will not hesitate to seek assistance from the police if this is needed.”