Vaccinations for this group began following the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), that children aged five to 11-years-old should be given a first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to boost immunity and increase their protection against any future waves of COVID-19.
Children in the age group are being given a third of the dose of vaccine that is given to older children and adults.
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and children aged five to 11 with no other underlying health conditions are being offered two paediatric doses of the vaccine, at least 12 weeks apart to give them the best protection against the virus.
COVID-19 is usually mild in most children, but it can make some children unwell. Vaccinating children can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to your child and those around them.
Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health at Bedford Borough Council, said: “COVID-19 has not gone away, and vaccination is the best way to protect your loved ones from the virus. Children aged five to 11 are being offered two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Over 1,000 children in Bedford Borough have already had their first dose. If you would like to find out more, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.”
Dr Sarah Whiteman, GP and Clinical Chair at BLMK CCG, said: "The COVID-19 vaccine is already making a big difference to help protect us all.
"The vaccine does not prevent all transmission of the virus, but research and experience in countries around the world shows it can prevent the worst effects of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of infection to your child and those around them.
“If a child has had COVID-19 they will still get extra protection from the vaccine, but they will need to wait 12 weeks before getting vaccinated.”
The NHS wants to support families to make an informed choice and there is a comprehensive information leaflet available on the CCG’s website: www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/covid-19/parentguide/
Dr Whiteman continued: “When you book your five to 11-year-old a COVID-19 vaccination at one of our large vaccination centres, you can also bring along other members of the family who may be due their first, second, booster or Spring Booster."
To arrange an appointment, you can book online or call 119 (between 8am and 8pm).
The CCG website also has details of walk-in sessions for five to 11-years-olds. No appointment is needed. Children aged between five and 11 must be accompanied by an adult with parental authority.
Dr Whiteman added: “Finally, across BLMK, our public health colleagues are providing the vaccination cab service to ensure that anyone struggling with transport can arrange for a visit to any vaccination site.
"They can accommodate up to five and have carried out journeys with whole families and entire households.
"These journeys can be either to or from the vaccination site as well as round trips.”
Please visit www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/drop-in for details.