Two newly eligible groups for COVID-19 vaccinations – over 50s booster and children aged 12-15 – now join those being offered jabs following government approval this week.
For parents concerned about COVID-19 vaccines for their eligible 12-15-year-olds, we’re keen to reassure them that we’ll only be vaccinating children where we have parental consent. Should a child wish to be vaccinated without parental consent, we’ll instead arrange a conversation between the parent, child and a clinician in a follow-up clinic to resolve.
Boosters for double-vaccinated over 50’s and at-school jabs for children aged 12-15-years-old with parental consent, will be getting underway towards the end of this month. We, along with our partners, have been preparing for these possibilities over the past few weeks and once we’ve finalised logistics, will be starting to roll out vaccinations to these new groups.
Following 18 months of lockdowns, when people have been less exposed to flu and their immunity may now be lower, we’re concerned about the likelihood of higher and more severe winter infections this year. We encourage everyone 16 and over who is eligible, to get their first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses for the best protection. Flu too. If you haven’t had yours yet, do get in touch with your GP or local pharmacy to book your jab.
A wide range of COVID-19 vaccination clinics are running across our county, with an ever-increasing number of walk-in and pop-up clinics in more low-uptake areas. We’re returning to Shelton’s Uxbridge Mosque this month and holding an inaugural clinic at YMCA North Staffordshire, while several colleges are accommodating our COVID-19 clinics for their students. Our fire service too, always ready with invaluable logistical support, is helping out even more by planning walk-in clinics at local stations.
With partner and community proving so pivotal to getting people vaccinated, this week we’re leaving the final word to Stoke-on-Trent South MP Jack Brereton who, following the government statement on Tuesday announcing the winter vaccination programme, said to the House of Commons: “Across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, uptake of the vaccine has been very good and I’d like to thank all of those who’ve been delivering the vaccine across Stoke-on-Trent particularly.”
Neil Carr, Senior Responsible Officer, COVID-19 vaccination programme
Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead, COVID-19 vaccination Programme
This week you’ve asked us about…
What are the benefits of vaccination in pregnancy?
Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies including admission to intensive care and premature birth.
More than half of women who test positive for COVID-19 in pregnancy have no symptoms at all but some pregnant women can get the life-threatening illness from COVID-19, particularly if they have underlying health conditions. In the later stages of pregnancy, women are at increased risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19 – the infection can also affect pregnancy.
In pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19, it is twice as likely that their baby will be born early, exposing the baby to the risk of prematurity.
A recent study has also found that pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of birth were more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, more likely to need an emergency caesarean and their risk of stillbirth was twice as high, although the actual number of stillbirths remains low.
The benefits of vaccination include:
- reduction in severe disease for the pregnant woman
- reduction in the risk of stillbirth and prematurity for the baby
- potentially reducing transmission to vulnerable household members.
Source: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Government approves COVID vaccines to 12-15s
Children and young people aged 12-15 years are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, following government acceptance of advice from the UK’s four chief medical officers.
Parental, guardian or carer consent for a child to receive the flu, COVID-19 or co-administered flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be sought by immunisation healthcare staff. Where consent is given for a child to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Pfizer/BioNTech is the preferred vaccine.
Alternative provisions are being put in place for those who are homeschooled, in secure services or in specialist mental health settings. More details here.
COVID booster vaccination – JCVI update
The JCVI updated its advice on the COVID-19 vaccine booster programme following government approval on 14 September.
The committee advises booster vaccinations for those more at risk of serious disease, should they contract COVID and those who were double jabbed during phase 1 of the vaccination programme. This includes:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19,
- and their adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
The JCVI advises that it is appropriate for the booster vaccine programme to begin in September 2021, as soon as operationally practical. It has indicated a preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, regardless of which vaccine brand someone received for their primary doses. More details here.
Best behaviour for best protection
Aside from making sure you’re double jabbed, what else can you do? Evidence suggests that under specific conditions, high levels of ventilation could reduce airborne virus transmission by up to 70%, which is why meeting outdoors reduces the risk. But also:
- When meeting indoors, ensure you are in a room well-ventilated with fresh air by opening windows
- Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed settings where you are contact with people you do not normally meet
- Get tested regularly
- Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate and take a free PCR test as soon as possible – stay at home if you feel unwell
- Self-isolate if you test positive
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
- Download the NHS COVID-19 app so you know if you’ve been exposed to the virus.
Whether you are getting your first or second COVID vaccine, search by postcode for the details of your nearest walk-in clinic on the national Grab-a-jab site. An overview of local walk-in clinics is also available on our TWB page here and currently includes:
More clinics are added regularly, so do keep checking.
Newly eligible groups for COVID vaccination
12-15-year-olds – vaccinations in this group will be delivered as part of the school immunisation programme and only with parental, guardian or carer consent. Wait to be invited. Please do not contact your GP.
Over 50’s and at-risk under 50s who are double vaccinated are approved to get a booster jab six months after receiving their second dose. You will be invited to take up your booster vaccine. Please do not contact your GP.
- ‘Boost your immunity this winter’ COVID and flu – digital assets available on the CRC here
- COVID-19 vaccination to 12-15-year-olds parents’ guide
- COVID-19 social media graphics, leaflets and downloadable posters from PHE include the following:
- Young people – https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/covid-19-vaccine/resources/young-people-vaccines/
- Schools – https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/schools/resources/
- Universities – https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/university-students/resources/
- COVID-19 easy-read materials for at-risk 12-15s – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-easy-read-resources-for-children-and-young-people
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