Meet the superheroes vaccinating vulnerable children against Covid
Report by ITV Meridian's Malcolm Shaw
Medical staff at a centre in Eastbourne in East Sussex are dressing up as superheroes and princesses, as part of a drive to get more vulnerable young children vaccinated against Covid.
6,268 children aged between 5 and 11 are eligible for a Covid vaccination in Sussex, with 145 of them already been given a jab in the county, as of Monday morning. (14 February)
In January, health secretary Sajid Javid said that at-risk children under the age of 12 will be able to be vaccinated against the virus.
Staff at The Crumbles vaccination centre in Eastbourne are trying to make the experience less intimidating for the youngsters by dressing in costume.
Dr Sarah Ali, Lead GP
Lead GP at the centre, Dr Sarah Ali said, "We've done all we can to alleviate as many of their fears as possible.
"All our staff are dressed up in capes and masks and we have balloons and little gifts and stickers for the children.
"It's important for these children to get vaccinated because they are at-risk. They are more likely to catch the virus, so it's important we vaccinate this particular cohort to help reduce transmission and school absences.
"I think there is naturally some hesitancy surrounding this group, but I think parents ought to be reassured that this vaccine has been tested and is fully safe. It's gone through all the normal processes of any vaccine.
Today the children are receiving the Pfizer vaccine, with a special dose tailored to their age.
Mother of three Lisa Malins took her children, Harvey and Katie, both 8, to get vaccinated at the centre.
She said "I'd do anything to try and keep them safe, and I think this is just the way forward.
"It all went absolutely fine. The children knew they were coming to have it done, so that it makes them feel better, so that we can get on in society.
"We need to try and act as normal as possible."
Fran Hatter and Scott McKenzie took their son Kieran, 7 to have his first vaccine.
His mother Fran said, "It's all been absolutely amazing.
"I was really nervous about bringing him because he is autistic and not great with new people, but the environment with all the superheroes, they've made it really easy.
Scott added, "Even the little gifts, and the cartoons on while the children wait, it makes them feel at ease. Especially for Kieran as he hates having jabs, but today he was like a different boy.
Why experts are divided on the decision to vaccinate under-12s against Covid
Mum of Kent boy who flew to New York for cancer vaccine given all clear