Three Covid vaccination centres now open to 12-15-year-olds in fresh jabs drive

Three of the region's vaccination centres have opened to 12-15-year-olds.

Saddlers Centre, Walsall is one of the venues that is set to offer the jab to 12-15-year-olds
Saddlers Centre, Walsall is one of the venues that is set to offer the jab to 12-15-year-olds

Youngsters can now get the Covid jab at Walsall's Saddlers Centre, Tipton Sports Academy, and at Birmingham's City Hospital. No appointment is required.

The move is part of a drive by the Black Country and West Birmingham CCG to ensure that as many people as possible can access a vaccine in the face of growing Covid rates.

It comes after concerns were raised over the slow roll-out of the latest stage of the vaccination programme, with jab rates of lower than one in 10 reported across the Black Country.

Up to now vaccines have only been administered to young teenagers in schools through School Age Immunisation Services.

Health chiefs say the move will allow pupils who are home-schooled or were off school when vaccines were delivered to get protected.

Eligible people can turn up at one of the centres and receive a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine after a consent form has been completed.

Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The main aim of the Covid-19 school age vaccination programme is to provide protection to the children who receive the vaccine, as well as helping to reduce transmission of Covid-19 in the wider population.

“We’re now expanding the service to include the opportunity to get vaccinated inside or outside of school, making it easier and more convenient for children to get a vaccination, especially over the half-term break.

“It’s quite normal for parents to have questions or even concerns, so I would encourage families to have a conversation about vaccination together, and use information from trusted sources such as the NHS or your local council to help you make a decision.

“The offer of a vaccination is evergreen, so any parent who previously declined to give consent but has changed their mind, is welcome to bring their child along any time.”

In the coming weeks letters will be sent out to the parents and guardians of 12-15-year-olds inviting them to book a vaccine via the National Booking System online or by calling 119.

The CCG says children do not need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to be vaccinated, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Bosses are also encouraging 16-17-year-olds who have not yet been vaccinated to come forward.

Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “With the current, high infection rates in younger people it’s even more important to get vaccinated to protect you and your loved ones.

"Getting vaccinated is a positive move to help us all."

In the seven days to October 17 a total of 4,896 new Covid cases were recorded in the four Black Country boroughs, up five per cent on the previous week.

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