Vaccine appointments for children aged between 12 and 15 will be available to book online from Friday (22 October) evening, it has been announced.
The rollout of appointments comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid previously told MPs the move would “make the most of half-term”.
When will appointments open?
Parents in England will be able to use the national booking system to schedule a vaccine for their child from Friday evening.
The booking system will show where appointments are available at local sites, with slots beginning as early as Saturday.
Children who have already been invited for the vaccine via their school do not need to book an appointment, unless parents decide they would rather their child get their jab at a vaccination centre.
Millions of letters inviting parents to book the vaccine for their child will be sent out over the coming weeks. This can be done either online through the NHS booking system, or by calling 119.
Opening up online bookings for youngsters is intended to provide parents with an additional option for parents to arrange a jab for their child, alongside the schools programme.
Almost half a million young people have already been vaccinated since the rollout for 12 to 15 year-olds began in late September.
Mr Javid said: “I’m delighted we are expanding our vaccination programme to allow parents or guardians to book Covid-19 vaccine appointments for their children at vaccination centres across the country.
“This will support the vaccine rollout, ensure young people can get their jabs when it’s convenient, including during half-term, providing parents with extra choice over where and when their child is vaccinated.”
What will happen at the appointment?
Children aged between 12 and 15 will be given one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, although in some cases children may be offered a second dose if:
- they live with someone who is more likely to get infections
- they have a condition that means they're at high risk from COVID-19
All parents, or those with parental responsibility, are asked for consent and will usually make this decision jointly with their children.
If your child has tested positive for Covid-19, they will need to wait four weeks before they can have their jab.
All children will be observed for 15 minutes after having the jab to monitor if they have a serious reaction to the vaccine.
Research has found that this is very rare and in the unlikely event it does happen, it will usually happen within minutes.
How to book
Parents in England will be able to book a vaccine appointment for their child via the NHS national booking service from Friday evening.
There is a list of pre-screening questions on the government website to help you and your child consider what is likely to be asked at your appointment. You do not need to complete this before you go.
A consent form is also available online to help you and your child discuss the decision, but you do not need to print or bring the form with you. Staff at the vaccination site will ask for consent before giving the vaccine.
If you cannot book an appointment online, you can call 119.