Contact urges clarity on Covid vaccine roll-out for high-risk children under 12

3 mins read

Monday 10 January 2022

Tags: covid, vaccination

It has been nearly 20 days since the government’s vaccine committee recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab for high-risk children aged 5-11 in the UK, but families are yet to hear of any roll-out plans.  

Contact is calling for an urgent update from the health secretary, Sajid Javid MP, as well as a swift roll-out of the Covid vaccine to high-risk children – many of whom have been shielding at home for the past 22 months.  

Una Summerson, Contact’s campaigns manager, said: “Thousands of families breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Covid vaccine was approved for high risk children aged 5-11 just before Christmas. Parents told us they couldn’t stop crying at the good news as their lives have been a “living hell” for almost two years.  

“Whilst we appreciate it is a very busy time for all those involved with the vaccine delivery programme, it is extremely disappointing that these families are still in the dark about when their clinically vulnerable children will have access to a jab. 

“All we have heard so far is that further NHS guidance will be made available ‘in due course’, while prime minister Boris Johnson said it would happen ‘later this month’. This lack of urgency falls short of the expectations of families whose lives have been on hold for months as the UK lagged behind other countries in authorising the vaccine for the 5-11 age group.

“As well as announcing a clear timetable for vaccination, officials must provide detailed information on how eligible children will be identified and invited for a jab in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s turbulent roll-out to vulnerable children aged 12-15.”  

Contact will continue to press NHS and government officials for greater clarity and will update families when we know more. 

Should I contact my GP?

We are hearing that some proactive GPs are compiling lists of high risk children based on Green Book eligibility and some are starting to book appointments.

Even if your GP surgery isn’t doing vaccines they should be able to confirm that your son has been identified as eligible and will get an invite.

This NHS letter confirms this

“Please note all GP practices will be asked to undertake local searches for 5-11 year olds in a clinical risk group and to help identify those who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed in January regardless of participation in vaccination.”

This letter also confirms the service specification has been updated which covers GPs/local vaccination centres to vaccinate high risk 5-11 year olds.

The letter also says that children can in the interim get vaccinated off label so really no reason for any further delay in our view. 

Please email if you need further advice