Young people aged 12 – 17 are being encouraged to register for the COVID-19 vaccine to help reduce the transmission of the virus within this age group.
Recent data from the Public Health Surveillance Report has shown that the greatest increase in weekly confirmed cases has been in the 10 – 14 age group, with the second highest increase among 15 – 19-year-olds.
Director of Public Health, Dr Henrietta Ewart commented:
‘Whilst COVID-19 is typically mild in most young people, there is the risk of some getting seriously ill or needing hospitalisation and one dose of the vaccine will protect against this.
‘This year, secondary school children can also receive the flu vaccine which will provide that further protection from serious flu infections. Both vaccines should reduce infections in this age group and avoid the need to miss school.’
Nearly 2,000 children and young people aged 12-17 have so far received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr Ewart added:
‘The last 18 months or so has been stressful for our young people and it is important that we limit disruption to their lives as much as possible. Vaccinating our young people will help reduce the risk of the virus spreading within schools, and allow them to continue their learning, which is good for their physical and mental health.’
Parents or guardians of children aged 12-15 are asked to register on behalf of their child online, while students aged 16 and over can register themselves.
The school flu programme has successfully vaccinated the majority of students over the last few weeks, however due to the volume of absences, the team will complete the rollout after half term holiday.
Planning will continue for the rollout of the COVID vaccine within schools for the future, and in the meantime clinics will be held over half term holidays for this age group to receive the vaccine. More details will be announced in the coming days.
Alongside vaccinations, young people are also encouraged to participate in regular testing using lateral flow devices to help detect cases early, reduce spread, and keep students in education.