Published: Wednesday, 6th Oct 2021

This week Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s School Age Immunisation Service will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to local young people aged 12-15 in school settings, following the latest guidance.

One dose of the vaccine will provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation. 

Vaccinating 12 to 15 year-olds will help to keep young people in school and reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools, communities and families. 

They will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine over the coming weeks.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust are responsible for the delivery of all school age immunisations in the area, and will be providing the vaccination programme with oversight from Dr Helen Wall, Senior Responsible Officer for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Bolton, and the Public Health department at Bolton Council.

Karen Meadowcroft, Chief Nurse at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Letters will be going out to parents or guardians of children aged 12-15 from this week, with details of when the vaccination will be offered. 

“They will also be asked to provide consent for their child to receive the vaccination, either through an online or a paper form.

“The vaccination programme is completely voluntary, but we hope that as many young people  as possible will come forward to get their vaccination when they are invited, to protect themselves and those around them. 

“Detailed information on the vaccine will be provided to students and families by the team providing the vaccination, to help them make an informed decision.  

“Families do not need to contact the NHS to arrange their child’s vaccine, schools and providers will be in touch. 

“Our teams are on hand to support throughout this process, as we understand this may be an anxious time. 

“Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we roll-out this programme”.

Dr Helen Wall, senior responsible officer for the vaccination programme in Bolton, said:

“The vaccination of 12-15 year olds in schools is a collaboration of key partners within the health and care system in Bolton and we all have our part to play in the smooth roll-out of this programme.

“The teams carrying out the vaccinations in secondary schools over the next few weeks are experienced and knowledgeable, and will be available to help with any queries about the vaccination.

“Parents are encouraged to discuss the matter with their children and together they can make an informed decision about the vaccination.”

Vaccinations will not only help protect children and their families from the virus, but, importantly, they will also reduce the risk of further disruption to children’s education after a difficult 18 months.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said:

“In Bolton we are working closely with our partners in the health service to offer a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to young people aged 12 to 15, in line with the national guidance.

“This will be done using a school-based vaccination programme which many families will be familiar with and is already used for vaccinations against diseases including polio and tetanus.

“Vaccinations will not only help protect children and their families from the virus, but, importantly, they will also reduce the risk of further disruption to children’s education after a difficult 18 months.

“Parents will be kept fully informed on the vaccine roll-out and I urge anyone with any concerns to read the guidance available on the government website.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Cllr Sue Baines, said:

“The government has decided to offer the vaccine to all children aged 12 to 15, following the advice of the four UK Chief Medical Officers.

“This takes into account not only the extra protection offered by the vaccine but also the physical and mental health benefits of attending school without the disruption caused by the virus.

“While many children do not suffer severe COVID symptoms, there is a risk they could develop long-term health problems as a result of the virus itself and the vaccine offers an extra level of protection against this.”

Regular updates about the programme will be available on the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust website and social media channels.