Covid vaccine: 11-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy among first children to have the jab

Jason Gregory Credit: Family photo

ITV News Central has spoken to the families of two children who're among the first in the UK to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

11-year-old Harriet Gregory from Derby has had her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, making her one of the youngest children outside clinical trials to receive a Covid vaccination.

She is severely disabled and her family have spent the last year protecting her from infection, so they're hoping this will start the return to normality.

Harriet was only given a few months to live when she was born, and among her complex medical needs is respiratory distress.

She has an undiagnosed life-limiting condition, is fully dependent on a ventilator, and relies on her parents and her medical team for all her needs.

In the last 6 months Harriet actually died in the resuscitation room at the Derby Royal Hospital, and was brought back to life after nearly two minutes of being clinically dead.

She has also had an eye operation at Birmingham Children's Hospital to save her sight.

Her family and carers have all had the vaccine already in order to keep her safe.

Although she is extremely clinical vulnerable, her age means she doesn't fit into the priority lists drawn up by the government.

However, her family discussed her situation with Harriet's paediatric consultant, given that catching Covid would have been devastating for her.

Her consultant, Dr Richard Bowker, was able to get approval to use the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and came to the house to administer it, in a huge moment for the family.

Despite being a couple of weeks off the age of 12, Harriett fitted into a specific group due to her complex needs.

14 year Elliot Gaskin from Chesterfield in Derbyshire has a severe neuro-muscular condition which means he needs a ventilator to breathe overnight.

Elliot received the coronavirus vaccine before clinical trials for 6-17 year olds have finished because, like Harriett, he met specific medical criteria.

Dr Bowker told ITV News Central that they had a vial with several doses of the vaccine left, and that had Elliot and Harriet not had the jab, it would have gone to waste. 

Elliot says that at first he was "quite nervous" but since having the jab he is "over the moon".

He says he's looking forward to being able to see his wider family.

Elliot's mum says she was under the impression that the vaccine would "never be available for under 16s" so when Dr Bowker called to say her son could have the jab she was "delighted".

She said: "Year on year everything, colds, coughs, it affects him so much more than us. We can manage most of his symptoms at home but when it's the unknown you don't know what to do."

She hopes that Elliott having the jab will lead to more children with additional needs being able to be vaccinated.

University Hospitals Derby and Burton NHS Trust said: “A clinical decision was made, based on the exceptional and unique circumstances of this individual case, and the vaccination was carried out safely.”

  • When will I get the jab?

People are being offered the Coronavirus vaccine in a set order, based on how likely it is that they will become seriously ill if they catch Covid-19.

The order is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Phase one priority groups (to be offered first dose by mid-April)

1 - Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers (800,000 people)

2 - Those aged 80 and over and frontline health and social care workers (a total of 7.1 million people in this group: 3.3m over 80s, 2.4m healthcare workers, 1.4m social care workers)

3 - Those aged 75 and over (2.3 million)

4 - Those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (4.4 million)

5 - Those aged 65 and over (2.9 million)

6 - All individuals aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality (7.3 million)

7 - Those aged 60 and over (1.8 million)

8 - Those aged 55 years and over (2.4 million)

9 - Those aged 50 years of age and over (2.8 million)

Phase two (to be offered first dose by mid-July)

10 - All those aged 40-49 years

11 - All those aged 30-39 years

12 - All those aged 18-29 years