What to do if your eligible child hasn’t been invited for a Covid vaccine yet

5 mins read

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Tags: Covid-19, coronavirus, health, vaccinations, nhs

Vulnerable children aged 12-15 eligible for a Covid vaccine should have received an invitation for their first appointment by the end of yesterday, Monday 23 August.

NHS England has asked local health networks to ensure clinically vulnerable children are vaccinated before school starts in September. But as the deadline for receiving invitations passed, many parents had still heard nothing, while many others reported being told incorrect information by vaccination centres.

If your eligible child has not received an invitation, here’s what you can do:

  • Contact your GP now and ask them to arrange an appointment immediately. All GP practices were required to identify the eligible children on their registered list by 19 August to ensure they have access to the COVID-19 vaccination before the start of the school year, even if they have opted out of administering vaccines themselves. They must run searches to ensure all eligible children are offered timely vaccination by 23 August through other delivery models. Local commissioners should work with these practices to ensure 12-15-year-olds are invited for an appointment. See more information in this NHS letter sent to all GPs on 13 August
  • If your GP is unaware of the vaccination process, refer them to this NHS letter, the updated Patient Group Direction for administering the vaccine to children, the National Protocol which has been updated to include the 12-15 age cohort, the updated Green Book guidance, and this excellent FAQ from the NHS with all the information your GP should need
  • The NHS recognises that not all eligible children may be identified through the GP record, so GPs must consider any approach by parents of children at increased risk. Your child’s doctor is allowed to use clinical judgement to determine eligibility in line with JCVI advice. Even if your clinically vulnerable child does not meet the criteria, or you are unsure if they are eligible, discuss this with your GP or paediatrician. Ask your GP for a letter confirming your child’s eligibility and take this letter to your local hospital hub, walk-in centre or vaccination site to arrange an urgent appointment. Hospital hubs and GPs have been urged to prioritise vaccinating the 12-15 age group so that vulnerable children can be protected before the return to school
  • Parents who are still encountering issues with their GP can contact their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Click here to find out what your local CCG is. GP practices that opted out of vaccinating children were required to inform the local CCG by 13 August of this so that alternative provision could be secured. Your CCG should therefore be aware of your GP’s decision and can help you arrange an appointment
  • Parents in Wales should get in touch with their local health board for an appointment. They can also provide information about walk-in centres in your area. If your child is eligible because they live with someone who has a weakened immune system, you can complete this self-referral form
  • Parents in Scotland should have been contacted by NHS Scotland or by their child’s healthcare professional if they are under specialist care. If this hasn’t happened, contact your local health board, speak to your child’s healthcare professional, or call the national COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013
  • Parents in Northern Ireland should contact their child’s GP, local health trust, or request an eligibility letter from your child’s paediatrician. You can also email the Department of Health for support at COVID-19VaccinationProgramme@health-ni.gov.uk. If your child qualifies because they live with an immunosuppressed person, you can book a vaccine for them online once you have a letter from their GP or health trust

Amanda Elliot, Contact’s health lead, said: “We are very concerned the roll-out of the children’s vaccination programme is now running behind, leaving families stressed and worried about their child’s safe return to school. 

“It’s great that some areas are already vaccinating children, but in other areas families have no idea when their child will be vaccinated.

“GPs are responsible for identifying eligible children, whether or not they are delivering the vaccines themselves.  If you have heard nothing, contact your GP to check if your child is on the list for the Covid vaccination and ask where and how they will be vaccinated locally.”

Don’t be afraid to contact your child’s GP even if you are unsure about their eligibility. Here is what one parent said about their experience:

“A big thank you to Contact. Your post and advice about approaching the GP for the Covid vaccine gave me the confidence to ring them and after initially being given the run-around, I’m pleased that my daughter is now booked in for this afternoon. I honestly hate phoning people, I get really nervous and I knew that technically my daughter isn’t eligible according to the JCVI, so having the clear information was a massive help!”

Any families who face ongoing barriers should also consider complaining to their CCG and write to their local MP.

Read more about which children are eligible and more about the COVID vaccine for children and young people on our FAQ page.

Key documents to be aware of