HEALTH leaders in Hampshire are reminding people to attend their Covid-19 vaccination appointments as they thank the thousands of children who have already had their jab.

In April, children aged between five and 11 started to receive their invitation from the NHS to get vaccinated.

This came after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended all children would benefit from the vaccine.

This offer is in addition to the regular programme of vaccinations such as measles and flu that children are advised to have.

Since then, over 14,000 children aged five to 11 in Hampshire and Isle of Wight have received their first dose of the vaccine. Children with underlying health conditions were invited to have their jab before April.

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and clinical lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “The response to the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Hampshire and Isle of Wight has been fantastic. I would like to reassure children and parents that their safety is our top priority and no new vaccine for children would have been approved if it hadn’t been through a detailed safety review.

“Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 helps protect children and their families against this virus, as well as reducing the impact it can have on our children’s education so I would strongly urge everyone eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

While demand has been high for appointments for this age group, some mass vaccination centres have seen around 20 per cent of appointments over the weekend of May 14-15 missed - including 110 on the Sunday alone.

Angela Anderson, deputy chief nurse & clinical director for the vaccination service at Solent NHS Trust, said: “The decision to get your child vaccinated, as a parent or guardian, is yours.

"Not only can the vaccine help protect your child against serious Covid infection, it can also reduce the risk of passing on the infection to others. So, if you or your child haven’t yet received the vaccine, why not book an appointment or come and speak to the teams at one of our centres as soon as you are able - they will be there to welcome you and answer any questions you may have.

“Our five to 11 vaccination clinics have been really positive, and our fantastic teams have created a child and family friendly atmosphere to ensure that children are as comfortable as possible when getting their jabs, with games and toys available for children to play with and regular visits from our therapy dog.

"We’re proud of the work we are doing as part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight programme and have had great feedback from both parents and children.”

For information call the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 helpline on 0300 561 0018, which is open between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm at weekends.