Families urged not to put off arranging vital second coronavirus jab for 12 to 15-year-olds

As schools across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire reopen to students after the Christmas break, parents are being urged to make sure children are fully protected against coronavirus.

Two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are needed to provide children aged between 12 and 15-years-old with full protection against the virus.

Most children are able to receive their second vaccination 12 weeks after having their first, although some who have recently had Covid-19 will need to wait 12 weeks from the date of their positive test.

Although vaccine clinics are still being held in schools, parents can ensure their child is vaccinated without delay by booking an appointment at one of the centres offering vaccinations for children.

These sites include the Steam Museum in Swindon, Bath Racecourse and Salisbury City Hall.

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “More than half of all children aged between 12 and 15-years-old in our region have already received a vaccine, and while this is a fantastic achievement, we want to ensure uptake is as high as it possibly can be.

“We know from experience that cases of coronavirus among children usually increase at the start of a new school term, but with the Omicron variant proving to be highly transmissible, the beginning of 2022 could see a very sharp rise in the number of young people testing positive for Covid-19.

“In order to keep children safe, as well as to minimise disruption to their learning, it’s incredibly important that parents discuss vaccination with their children and arrange an appointment for either a first or second dose as soon as possible.”

Vaccination appointments can be booked quickly and easily via the National Booking Service, which is available online at www.nhs.uk or over the phone by calling 119.

First and second doses of the vaccine, as well as booster vaccinations, continue to be available for all adults, and these too can be arranged through the National Booking Service.

Extra appointments at all vaccination venues, including sites such as community pharmacies, are being added regularly, and people trying to book a vaccination at a specific venue are advised to keep checking for newly-released slots.

Wherever possible, people should avoid contacting their GP practice with queries about the vaccination programme, as surgery teams remain incredibly busy helping to provide vaccines, as well as continuing to offer urgent care for those with non-covid-related conditions.

For more information about the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, visit www.bswicb.nhs.uk.