BwD schools work with NHS on Covid vaccination programme

Published Tuesday 28 September 2021 at 14:16

Secondary schools across Blackburn with Darwen are preparing to assist the NHS to roll out Covid vaccines to 12 to 15 year olds.

Letters are being sent to parents and carers of pupils in this age group, requesting consent for vaccination, due to start in the borough from Monday 11 October.

All the borough’s secondary schools, academies, special schools and private schools will take part in the vaccination programme.

Coun Julie Gunn, Executive Member for Children, Young People & Education, said:

Vaccinating this age group will protect our young people over the autumn and winter when we are all more at risk of infection from Coronavirus. Our children’s education has been severely impacted over the last 18 months, and we need to do everything we can to help get back to normal and keep our young people in school – both for their learning, and for their mental wellbeing.

As the Chief Medical Officers have said, vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds will also have community benefit, preventing transmission within households and the wider community.

Covid vaccination is not mandatory and no child aged 12 to 15 will be vaccinated without parental consent.

Letters from schools will set out what parents of children in this age group need to do to give their consent.

Like other vaccination programmes – including the HPV vaccine given to Year 8 or 9 pupils – the NHS School Age Immunisation Service will visit secondary schools to administer vaccines during the normal school day.

Prof Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen, said:

Offering the Covid vaccine to 12 to 15 year olds is something I have been lobbying the government for since June, when the MHRA approved the Pfizer vaccine as safe for this age group.

Vaccinating children aged 12 plus will have a particular benefit for Blackburn with Darwen as we have the eighth youngest population aged under 16 in the UK – 23% of our local residents.

Given that Blackburn with Darwen’s vaccination rate is not far behind the national average, and that we have the highest number of confirmed Covid cases than any other area of England, the borough has a high likelihood of being one of the first areas to achieve population herd immunity.

If everyone eligible in every neighbourhood gets vaccinated, herd immunity is a very real possibility. What this will mean as we approach winter is fewer infections, fewer avoidable deaths, and a continued return to normal life.

You can find out more about the Covid vaccination programme in BwD schools on the Council website.

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