Paediatricians in Devon have offered reassurance about the Covid-19 vaccination to children who have become eligible for the vaccine and to their parents.
Dr Corinne Hayes and Dr Emily Chesshyre, who are both paediatricians based at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust, have recorded a short video explaining that the paediatric dose of the vaccination is known to be safe and has been widely used in this age group in other countries
Children aged 5 to 11 years, who are clinically at risk from Covid-19 or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed are now eligible for a lower, paediatric, dose of the vaccine.
Eligible children include those with diabetes, immunosuppression, learning disabilities, and other conditions such as chronic heart or kidney conditions.
Dr Corinne Hayes said: “Having the vaccine will help protect the most vulnerable children and their families from Covid-19. If you have any concerns please talk to your GP or consultant, we’re always happy to help.”
Dr Emily Chesshyre said: “I want to reassure children and their parents that this lower dose has been approved following a robust safety review and that many children elsewhere in the world have already been safely vaccinated. Over 8.7 million children in this age group have had the Covid-19 vaccine in the US alone.”
Children who are eligible will be contacted by their GP or the local NHS inviting them to book an appointment. This group are not currently able to book through the national booking system.
NHS Devon’s Chief Nurse, Darryn Allcorn, said: “I urge any parent or guardian of children in this eligible group to take up the offer as soon as they are invited. Children may experience mild side effects, such as a sore arm or flu-like symptoms, but we know that even the milder Omicron variant can make people seriously ill.”
The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) advises the government on immunisations and has recommended that eligible children should receive two 10-microgram doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is one third of the dose for adults and children aged 12 and over. The vaccination is given as two injections in the upper arm, with a minimum interval of eight weeks between these doses. Children who turn 12 during that interval will still have a lower second dose.
Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates medicines in the UK, said: “Parents and carers can be reassured that no new vaccine for children would have been approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.
“We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved COVID-19 vaccines and this includes children aged 5 to 11 years old.”
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