Children in Wiltshire are to be offered a coronavirus vaccine, which is expected to roll out across the county very soon.

Vaccination will be offered to more than 45,000 children aged 12 to 15 in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Chief Medical Officers in England, led by Professor Chris Whitty, announced the move earlier this week, and it is expected that the first local vaccinations will be given in the coming days.

The move contradicted advice from the UK's vaccine advisory body, the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The JCVI did not recommend vaccinating healthy 12 to 15-year-olds on health grounds alone, as healthy children were at such a low risk from the virus that jabs would offer only "marginal gain", but referred the matter to the UK’s chief medical officers.

Covid-19 vaccinations have recently made headlines after studies in the US suggested healthy teenage boys were more likely to be admitted to hospital with a rare side effect of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine that causes inflammation of the heart than with Covid itself.

In order to receive the vaccine, children will need to have the consent of their parents.

The vaccination team will not administer a vaccine where there is any disagreement between the child and parent around consent, nor will the team vaccinate if both parent and child have refused consent.

Teams will reach out to any parents and children who are undecided for a conversation, and, if appropriate, arrange a catch-up vaccination appointment.

Vaccines will be administered by teams from Virgin Care’s Immunisation Service team at all schools across the region, and children will also be able to receive their flu vaccine, which is given in the form of a nasal spray, at the same time as their Covid jab.

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “We have been expecting this announcement for some time and, in readiness, have been working closely with our colleagues at Virgin Care to plan this next phase of the vaccination programme.

“Virgin will visit all schools across the region over the coming weeks, and will work with both teaching staff and parents to ensure the process of offering the vaccine to as many eligible young people as possible is carried out in a safe and timely manner.

“Since December, more than 1.3 million Covid-19 vaccines have been given out across our region, and we know that in doing so we have helped to save countless lives and reduce the spread of infection.

“Aside from offering protection against coronavirus, giving the vaccine to this age group will help to stop our young people’s time at school from being disrupted, which in turn will support long-term wellbeing and mental health.”

Val Scrase, Managing Director, Virgin Care in BSW, said: “We already work with local schools to deliver the very successful school immunisation programme within schools safely and efficiently, and we’ll be contacting parents directly via their school in the coming days.

"As with all vaccines, ensuring proper consent from parent and child is very important and so we’ll be continuing to use our tried-and-tested electronic consent system, allowing parents to make an informed decision confident in the knowledge our vaccination team has their decision available on the day and will act accordingly.”

It was also announced that booster vaccines are to be made available for care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49-years-old with underlying health conditions, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.

People eligible for a booster vaccination will be contacted directly by the NHS approximately six months after their last Covid-19 vaccine was given, with those who received their second dose early at four weeks being called first.

Coronavirus vaccines are still available for any person in need of a first or second dose, with many vaccination clinics across the region offering jabs on a walk-in basis.

Visit to find out which centres are running a drop-in service.

For further information on the local vaccination programme, go to

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