SCHOOLS will be the primary setting for vaccinations of 12 to 15-year-olds against COVID-19 in Dumfries and Galloway – as the programme expands to include this age group.
These vaccination opportunities will take place in schools over a quick two-week period beginning September 30 – using the same well-established approach being employed to provide flu vaccinations to school-age children.
Although vaccinations for the 12-15 age group will also be available via drop-in clinics from Monday, the school-based programme will provide a structured, fair, fast and accessible approach with minimum disruption to pupils’ education.
Dr Nigel Calvert is Immunisation Co-ordinator for NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and he said: “We’ve been routinely asked about the likelihood of vaccines being offered to lower age groups.
“Now, acting on the advice of the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers, where one represents each nation, the Scottish Government has decided to extend this offer to 12 to 15-year-olds – noting the likely benefits to health and in reducing educational disruption.”
Uptake of vaccinations has been strong among 16 and 17-year-olds in Dumfries and Galloway, with 75.7 per cent having received a first dose compared to a national average of 59.5 per cent.
And Dr Calvert said: “We’re expecting there’s likely to be a similar high degree of uptake in the 12 to 15-year-old age group. We’ll be looking to promote information to families in order to ensure informed consent, and are making arrangements to send out invitations for children to take up vaccination opportunities in schools over that two week period.
“COVID vaccines are helping to prevent some of the worst effects of COVID, and to bring down cases by helping to reduce transmission.
“Younger people generally do not suffer the effects of COVID to the worst possible degree, but we do know that anyone can be affected and also the issues posed by Long COVID. We also know that vaccinating helps cut down the spread of the virus, benefitting the wider community and its services.
“We’d encourage everyone to give consideration to being vaccinated against COVID-19, which still currently represents a very significant threat to public health and the functioning of our communities.
“If any parents or guardians would like to accompany children to their vaccination and discuss vaccination issues, we would invite them to use the drop-in centres.”
Information on vaccinations for those aged 12-15 will be made available on the NHS Dumfries and Galloway website for young children and their parents and guardians to review – available, here: www.nhsdg.co.uk/vaccines/
This site will host information on local vaccination arrangements for 12 to 15-year-olds, and link through to the wealth of information that exists on the national website www.nhsinform.scot
For full information on vaccinations including upcoming drop-in clinics, please visit www.nhsdg.co.uk/vaccines/