NI parents offered jabs for 5 to 11-year-olds eager to get their kids vaccinated

Many parents across Northern Ireland are weighing up whether to get their child vaccinated against Covid-19.

Children aged five-to-11 who are not in a risk group will be offered the opportunity to receive a jab following updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Some parents were still deciding whether to vaccinate their children.

“At the moment I am conflicted,” mother Gillian McCarney told UTV News.

“If you go online there is a lot of information out there and I can’t ascertain what is correct and what isn’t and I don’t want to put my daughter through something she doesn’t actually need.”

But other parents are sure it’s a good idea.

“They’ve been vaccinated all their lives and we’ve eradicated things like smallpox and measles more or less, so I see no reason not for Covid as well,” Nicola Bryson said.

A small dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is already being offered for children over the age of five who have underlying health conditions.

Public health experts have also explained that offering the vaccine to a wider spread of the population could help keep new variants at bay.

A leading public health professor says the benefits of receiving the jab outweigh the risks.

“Any of the rare side effects that we’ve heard of are extremely rare,” said Dr Jillian Johnston of the Public Health Agency.

“Although serious disease in Covid is less common in children, it can still happen in a small proportion of children and that risk is greater than in the risk of the vaccine.”