ALL 16 and 17-year-olds will be offered a Covid jab in the next week as the rollout could be extended to all over-12s.
Youngsters will be given a dose of the Pfizer vaccine in a bid to build up immunity before schools and colleges open up next month.
Secondary schools are also being put on alert to provide a vaccine programme for all children over age 12 – which could begin in the autumn term.
Last week, officials in Whitehall met to discuss extending the jab programme to all kids in the age group – not to just children with health conditions or living with high-risk people.
The jabs would be administered by schools in the same way other vaccines are rolled out in the institutions, according to the Sunday Times.
The NHS has already been asked to write to school immunisation teams urging them to prepare for the widened rollout programme.
This comes after reports that all children will be offered Covid vaccine this year as experts warn kids must be jabbed to reach herd immunity.
Professor Neil Ferguson – dubbed ‘Professor Lockdown’ – said it was “inevitable” teens would need the jab.
“In the absence of vaccinating it’s inevitable that we’re going to have very high numbers of cases in teenagers, and we will not be able to reach herd immunity without significant immunity in people under 18,” he told the BBC.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which approves medicines and vaccine for use in the UK, greenlighted the Pfizer jab for 12 to 15-year-olds in June following trials, but more data on the impact on younger children is still needed.
Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca are expected to hand in their findings from ongoing trials later this year.
And some parents have spoken of their surprise after receiving letters informing them of a jabs schedule for children aged between 12 and 15 during the autumn school term.
John Ferneley College, an academy in Leicestershire, wrote to parents last week offering slots for pupils in years eight to eleven, the Telegraph reports.
Mums and dads were told their kids could be vaccinated at the school, with the first dose due to take place in mid-September and the second in early January 2022.
The letter sent to parents of students at John Ferneley reads: “Following the pandemic and the successful implementation of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in adults, we are anticipating a decision from the Government if the Covid-19 vaccine will be offered to young people.
“Should this be confirmed upon return in the autumn term, the Leicestershire NHS Community Immunisation Service are anticipating that this will be given within a school setting during this autumn/winter, as a two-dose course.”
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust confirmed that it had written to all the schools in its area to “inform them of our proposed immunisation schedules”.
Officials said advance preparation will help with planning – but stressed that jabs in schools will only go ahead if approved.