All 16 and 17-year-olds in England are to be offered a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or the chance to book one by August 23, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.
The Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the date would enable teenagers to build up some protection against the virus before school or college resumes in September.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds across the UK were first offered a jab earlier this month, but unlike older age groups, no second dose is being scheduled.
The UK reported a further 61 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Sunday, bringing the total to 130,953, according to the latest government figures. Despite the vaccines reducing the number of coronavirus-related hospital admissions and deaths, experts have warned high case numbers are still putting a strain on the NHS.
It is hoped that targeting 16 and 17-year-olds will help to avoid a surge in cases in the autumn term.
Who is eligible for the vaccine?
All young people aged 16 to 17 in England are to be offered a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Teenagers will be able to book a vaccine appointment in the three months leading up to their 18th birthday.
Children aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable or live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus, will also be invited for their vaccine by August 23, NHS England has said.
Invitations are also being sent out in Wales, while older teenagers in Northern Ireland can use walk-in centres, and older teenagers can register their interest online in Scotland.How do you book an appointment for a vaccine?
In England, those aged 16 and 17 will be invited, by text or letter, to get vaccinated either by making an appointment through their GP or via walk-in centres.
The DHSC has said around 100,000 text messages are being sent to the teenagers within three months of turning 18, inviting them to book their vaccine appointment online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119.
Where will you be able to get vaccinated?
Those aged 16 and 17 will be able to get vaccinated at one of more than 800 GP-led local vaccination sites.
NHS England has launched a new online walk-in site finder to help 16 and 17 year olds find the nearest available centre to them, with further sites expected to come online over the coming weeks.Such sites used to administer the jab will include local pharmacies, medical practices and community centres.
The government has said it is working with the NHS to make it as convenient as possible to get vaccinated, including through ‘grab a jab’ pop-up vaccine sites across the country.
These include London-based nightclub Heaven, as well as football stadiums and festivals.
What vaccine will be administered?
The eligible teenagers will receive the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for use in the UK for people aged 12 and over.
They will not need consent from a parent or guardian to receive the jab.
Pfizer, which is the vaccine under-18s will receive, conducted trials on 2,000 12 to 15 year olds in October last year and found it was safe.
And the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has already approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 and over.
What is the situation in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
In Wales, invitations are also being sent out. Swansea Bay Health Board has already offered appointments at both the Bay Field Hospital off Fabian Way and the Margam Vaccination Centre. The health board is contacting parents of clinically vulnerable children aged 12-15, advising them how they also can book their vaccine slots.
In Scotland, drop-in clinics are offering Pfizer vaccines to 16 and 17 year olds. All Pfizer drop-in centres in mainland Scotland started to offer the jab to this age group from Tuesday, August 10.
In Northern Ireland, those aged 16 can or over as of the August 31, 2021, can receive a vaccine. You must have reached your 16th birthday before the actual vaccination can take place.
Those eligible will be able to receive a first dose Pfizer vaccination at one of Northern Ireland's walk-in mobile vaccination clinics or seven regional vaccination centres.
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