Covid Vaccine Offered To At-Risk 5-11 Year Olds

The vaccines for at-risk 5-11 year olds will be administered by nurses in the hospital.

Vulnerable five to 11-year-olds in Jersey will be offered two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Youngsters in this age group who are in a clinical at-risk group, or who are a household contact of someone with a weakened immune system, will be offered the doses eight weeks apart.

Parents will get a phone call to ask if they want their child to be vaccinated. They'll also receive a letter and leaflets from the vaccination team.

The vaccines will be administered by nurses in the hospital. The government says it'll be a more private and child-friendly environment.

Eligible five to 11-year-olds who go to Mont a L'Abbe School will also have the chance to get their vaccines there.

"I would like to reassure parents and Islanders that an extensive assessment of the risks and benefits for at-risk 5 to 11-year-olds, including analysis of clinical trial results and real-world data has been carried out. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have carefully considered all the data and support a positive benefit-risk for children in this age group.

A Children’s Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) has been put together by the Children’s Commissioner, alongside officers from the vaccination programme. The CRIA considers the proposals to extend the COVID-19 vaccination programme to this age and risk group from the perspective of the rights and perspectives of children and young people. This assessment concludes that such extension is appropriate from these perspectives. A CRIA has previously been produced for rolling out the vaccine to under 18s.

While exposure to the virus is high among children due to school and nursery settings, the majority of children aged 5 to 11 are at a lower risk of developing serious illness. However, those who have underlying health conditions are at an increased risk, so following the advice from the JCVI and MHRA, I strongly encourage parents to take the time to read through the letter and leaflet that the Vaccination Team are sending and seriously consider getting their child vaccinated." - Dr. Ivan Muscat, Deputy Medical Officer of Health.

The government says further advice on vaccinating other five to eleven-year-olds will be issued by vaccine experts 'in due course.'

Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf says he's pleased to offer a primary course of vaccination to these children.

"Vaccination is the most crucial line of defence we have against COVID-19 and is the reason that de-escalation of COVID-19 measures has been possible. 

It is important that Islanders continue to stay up to date with their vaccination schedule and get vaccinated when a new dose is offered to them, or when further priority groups become eligible. 

With many positive cases stemming from school settings, vaccinating those children who are most vulnerable is important to ensure they are protected against the potential risks associated with catching the virus and to reduce the spread of infection to other children. Keeping up with regular lateral flow testing is also extremely important in supporting schools and protecting face to face teaching. I urge parents to consider getting their child vaccinated if they are eligible and afford them the best protection."

The government has cited the high vaccine uptake for lifting Covid-19 restrictions from Tuesday 1 February.

As of Sunday 23 January, 13% of 12 to 15-year-olds and 35% of 16 to 17-year-olds had been double-vaccinated.

The vaccine centre is now open five days a week between Tuesday and Saturday.

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