Children as young as five will be offered Covid-19 vaccinations in Northampton from Saturday (April 2).
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended healthy youngsters aged from five to 11 should be offered special child doses of the vaccine to boost immunity and increase their protection against future waves of coronavirus.
Chris Pallot, director of the county’s vaccination programme, said: “This is a very important next step.
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"As well as protecting against serious Covid infection by getting vaccinated, children and young people can reduce the risk of passing on the infection to their families and those they are in contact with.
“It’s completely understandable as a parent to be concerned about vaccinations when it comes to young children.
"By the time children leave school, they will typically have been offered vaccinations against 18 different diseases and infections. Covid is one more they can have to protect them from serious illness.”
Scientists called for the immediate rollout of Covid vaccines to primary-aged children as new data suggested even a single dose of the Pfizer jab helps to prevent older ones against infection, and shortens the duration and severity of symptoms if they do get infected.
Russell Viner, a professor of child and adolescent health at University College London, told the Guardian recently: “The medical arguments are marginal for children, but once the decision has been made that the vaccine is safe, has some effectiveness, and on balance, parents should be able to opt in for their children if they so wish, there’s an equity argument to say that the system now needs to deliver that for children.”
The county’s vaccine has been given a kid-friendly makeover ready to receive the youngsters.
Mr Pallot added: “Our incredible team at Moulton Park have been busy preparing to welcome young children by painting and decorating walls and panels to make their experience as family-friendly and fun as possible.”
Sites county-wide – including in Corby, Daventry, Towcester, Rushden, Kettering, Thrapston and Northampton — will be offering youngsters two doses, 12 weeks apart.
If a child has had Covid-19 they will still get extra protection from the vaccine, but will need to wait 12 weeks before getting vaccinated.
Around 900 positive Covid tests a day are being recorded in Northamptonshire despite a drop in home testing following the government scrapping free lateral flow tests from Friday (April 1).
And NHS England revealed the number of Covid patients being treated in hospitals in Northampton and Kettering had nearly doubled from 85 at the beginning of March to 165 by Tuesday (March 30).
Mr Pallot added: “Restrictions may have been lifted but we must not get complacent. Covid-19 is still here and it’s still spreading rapidly.
"Cases have been rising so please come forward for your vaccine, whether that’s a first or second dose, or for those eligible, a booster dose.”