An update on COVID-19 vaccination plans for 12-15 year olds in Hertfordshire
10 September 2021
Who is eligible to get the vaccine now?
The 12 - 15 year olds currently being offered the COVID-19 vaccine are those who live with someone who has a suppressed (weakened) immune system, and children who have a condition that means that they themselves are at high risk from COVID-19.
These children are being offered 2 doses of a vaccine approved for their age group, which will be given 8 weeks apart.
GPs have been using their records to identify:
- Children aged 12 - 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome or underlying conditions resulting in a weakened immune system.
- Children with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register.
- Children aged 12 years and over who are household contacts of people with weakened immune systems. Please note, there are adults who are extremely clinically vulnerable because of a health condition whose 12-15 year old children are NOT recommended to have a COVID vaccination. The eligibility for this programme is strictly defined, so that vaccines are given to those most at risk. GPs decide who is eligible based on the guidance from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Where and when will these children be vaccinated?
A number of the children identified by their GPs are being vaccinated by their network of GP practices.
Where GP practices are not vaccinating their own patients, they have provided lists of eligible 12-15 year old patients to Hertfordshire Community Trust (HCT), the NHS organisation which administers school-aged children’s vaccinations in Hertfordshire. HCT have been commissioned to vaccinate these children.
HCT staff routinely vaccinate children with profound and multiple disabilities, or who are on the learning disability register, in their familiar school environment. HCT are in the process of gaining consent from the parents or guardians of these children to administer their COVID-19 vaccinations in their specialist schools. This vaccination programme starts on 13 September.
For children who have been identified as eligible but who attend mainstream school, or who are educated at home, 4 special clinics have been commissioned in Hertfordshire and west Essex that parents can take their children to.
- These one-off clinics are dedicated to vaccinating only 12-15 year old children and are being held over the next 10 days in Epping, Ware, Watford and Bishop’s Stortford, from Sunday 12 September onwards. Clinics will take place at the weekends, or after schools have finished for the day.
Parents and carers of eligible children are being contacted with the details of these clinics, together with contact information for HCT, in case they have queries or concerns. Individual catch-up arrangements will be made for children who cannot attend these clinics.
What if a child is eligible to be vaccinated but has not yet been contacted?
Parents and carers of the 12-15 year olds who meet the criteria described above should have been contacted, either by their own GP, via their child’s special school, or through a text or phone call from HCT.
If you have not been contacted, you should speak to your own GP practice and request they provide your child with a vaccination, or alternatively refer your child to HCT.
What about additional children recently recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccination?
On Friday 3 September, the JCVI recommended that more 12-15 year old children should be added to the list of those eligible to be vaccinated, including those with:
GPs will now begin to identify these additional children, so that they can be vaccinated as well.
What about plans for vaccinating all 12-15 year-old children?
We are awaiting government decision on vaccination policy for the remainder of the 12-15 year old population. We will let you know about local arrangements if a decision to offer the vaccination is made.
How should I follow up a concern?
If you have a concern, for example, if you think that your child is eligible to be vaccinated but hasn’t been contacted, you should contact your own GP practice in the first instance.
Failing this, you can contact the Clinical Commissioning Group which oversees the vaccination arrangements in your area.