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The Covid-19 vaccination is now available to children aged 5-11, as the biggest and most successful vaccination drive in health service history moves into the next phase.

Across Somerset there are 44,600 children in this age group who are eligible for two doses of the vaccine. With the Easter holidays now upon us, families are being urged to make the most of the holiday break and make an appointment. There are many clinics across Somerset where these appointments can easily be made by booking online or by calling 119.

The NHS will also be sending invites over the next few weeks to let parents and guardians know they can now book in for a vaccine and some people will be invited by their GP teams.

Caroline Upton, Head of Nursing & Quality Somerset Mass Vaccination Programme said : “Our NHS staff continue to work hard across the our county to deliver the COVID vaccine to all eligible groups. The 5-11s are the latest to start receiving theirs, helping to protect communities against potential future waves of COVID. The vaccine is safe and effective and I’d encourage all parents to read the information and consider booking their child in for a vaccination at the earliest opportunity”

“We have opened up a large number of appointments across Somerset, making it as easy as possible for families to book their vaccination at a site that suits their needs. Our experienced staff are also providing longer appointment times so that families can take the time to discuss their decisions and reduce any stress in their children”.

Parents and guardians are being encouraged to read the patient and consent information in advance of booking their child’s appointment and will be asked to provide consent for their child’s vaccination on the day.

The JCVI has advised that all children aged between 5 to 11 will be offered two 10 microgram doses, a third of the strength given to all over the age of 12, of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses (or 8 weeks for children who have medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 or who live with someone with a weakened immune system.)

Families will be given a vaccination record card once their child has been vaccinated and are asked to keep this in a safe place. The vaccination record card provides the name of the vaccine, batch number and the date the vaccine was given.