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Parents in Somerset will be able to book Covid-19 vaccinations for their 12-15 year old children from the end of today (Friday 22nd October), with appointments available as soon as tomorrow. This will provide a new option for parents who may want to get their child vaccinated during half term.

Letters are being sent to parents and guardians of children aged 12 – 15, as part of a national drive over the coming weeks inviting them to book the vaccine online or by calling 119 as the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme continues at pace.

Parents and carers will be able to go online and check the National Booking Service to see if their local site has appointments to book their child in for a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine, as the NHS covid-19 vaccination programme continues at pace.

Gary Risdale from the Somerset Vaccination Programme saysWe have opened a significant number of slots at our vaccination centres including at Somerset Motor Museum in Sparkford, Firepool in Taunton and Minehead Community Hospital.  We would like to remind parents that they need to make a booking online via the National Booking Service. Walk in appointments are not being offered at this time.

“Children from 12-15 years old will continue to also be offered Covid vaccinations through their local school.

“If a child has already been invited through their school, they do not need act on the invite they receive through the National Booking Service to book online for an appointment at their local vaccination centre, unless parents wish to get their child vaccinated outside of school”.

The move to enable parents to book online for an appointment at a local vaccination centre, is an expansion of the existing programme, providing parents with an extra option, as the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in health history continues to protect people against the virus.

Parents and guardians will be advised to attend vaccination sites with their children if they want them to get jabbed outside of school hours. Consent will be sought on the day. Parents and their children are being asked to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment. This can also be accessed online.

Parents are being advised to keep checking the National Booking Service as more appointments and sites become available.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme, said: “As we head into October half term, the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme is opening up vaccine centres to young people aged 12 to 15 as another way to get their vaccine – if they have already received their vaccine or been invited through their school then they do not need to do anything.

“The decision to get vaccinated has always been a private choice between a child and their parent or guardian – my 13-year-old son received his vaccine at school on the same day I had my booster dose in a local pharmacy. I would urge families to look at the information together and then book in to give children and their loved ones crucial protection ahead of winter.”

“As we head into the winter months, it is more important than ever that young people get their vaccine as soon as possible to help protect themselves and their families.”