SCHOOLCHILDREN will be allowed to have their vaccine at a walk-in centre after it emerged some schools were "running out" of jabs and were not able to plan follow-up appointments.

The Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that children aged between 12 and 15 would be able to use the NHS booking system to secure their Covid jab, a similar system used in Scotland.

It comes as The Northern Echo last week revealed that children were being left unvaccinated after schools reported that they could not continue with the rollout due to supply.

Read more: Number of pupils Southmoor Academy in Sunderland left unvaccinated

At the time, parents hit out claiming that there were no alternative options other than to "watch and wait" as guidance stated that children were not allowed to go to walk-in vaccination sites. 

But in a statement on Tuesday, Sajid Javid told MPs the Government is “ramping up” the vaccination programme which will allow more "flexibility" for school children and families wanting the vaccine.

The Northern Echo:

He said: “To make the most of half-term next week, we will now be opening up the national booking service to all 12 to 15-year-olds to have their Covid vaccinations in existing national vaccination centres, which will offer families more flexibility.

“I think it is important that anyone who is invited as eligible for a vaccine, including young people, that they do come forward and take up that offer.”

Last Friday, parents criticised ministers after one North East school said there were no plans for "mop up" sessions after the initial batch of Covid jabs reportedly ran out.

One parent, whose child attends Southmoor Academy in Sunderland, described the vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds as a “shambles” as they said pupils were now allowed to visit a vaccination site.

The Northern Echo:

They said: "They’re pushing for teens to be vaccinated – but it just doesn’t seem very organised. I spoke to the school and they said there’s no plan for a mop up session.

“We got a letter via the school from the Secretary of State encouraging them to get the vaccination, but how can they do that if they don’t have plans to run further clinics.”

NHS guidance previously stated that most 12 to 15 year olds should be offered one dose of the Pfizer vaccine in a school setting as they are unable to get their jab at a vaccination site, which was initially reserved for 16s and over. 

At the time, Dame Maura Regan, Schools North East Trustee, described the concerns raised as a "targedy" for those schoolchildren who wanted to get the jab but could not obtain one.

She said: "The biggest issue that I’ve dealt with is not that parents aren’t consenting.

"It’s the fact that they are either running out of vaccines or they are running out of time.

"So we’ve got parents that have consented but their children haven’t had their vaccination, which is a tragedy."

Figures released by PA on last night showed vaccination uptake in schoolage children was particularly low in the North East, compared with other parts of England and Scotland. 

One area - Newcastle - saw vaccine uptake in those aged 12 to 15 at just six percent, while Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland saw uptake of 63 percent.

The Department of Health was approached for comment.


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