Hywel Dda UHB asks parents and carers of at risk 5–11-year-olds to come forward

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s COVID-19 vaccination team is preparing to invite at-risk children aged 5-11 for their first COVID-19 vaccination and is asking people with parental responsibility for those newly eligible to contact the health board so an appointment can be arranged.

On 22 December 2021, the JCVI recommended that children aged 5 to 11 who are in an “at-risk” group* or are the household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed should be offered two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, eight weeks apart. The minimum interval between any vaccine dose and COVID-19 infection should be four weeks.

Further information about the JCVI’s definition of an at-risk 5–11-year-old is available here https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/covid-19-information/covid-19-vaccination-programme/children-and-young-people/.

Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Following the JCVI’s recommendation just before Christmas, we have been working to identify eligible children living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire through GP records.

“However, we understand that many families with vulnerable 5–11-year-olds or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed are keen to protect them as soon as possible against the virus so those with parental responsibility can also contact us directly to provide their details.

“You can do so by completing an online form, available here https://forms.office.com/r/1KvjmdFu6g, or calling 0300 303 8322. We will begin to invite this group as soon as the vaccine is made available to us. Our current planning aims to start appointments week beginning 24 January.

“At the current time, the JCVI considers the balance of potential benefits and harms is in favour of vaccination for this group. I strongly advise parents and guardians to look at trusted sources and speak with their child, if possible, when making their decision. There is a lot of information out there about the COVID-19 vaccine, so please be careful to use only accurate and trusted information to help you answer any questions you may have.”

A guide for children aged 5-11 years who are at greater risk from COVID-19 infection is available to read here. Further information is available from gov.wales/vaccine-coronavirus and the British Society for Immuniology who have produced a free guide for the public about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bethan added: “This group, due to their age and clinical-risk, will be vaccinated by appointment only and our vaccination teams are working to ensure appointments are offered in a child-friendly and safe environment using a mixture of our current mass vaccination centres and community-based setting where more appropriate.”

The JCVI has not advised whether children aged 5 to 11, who are not in an “at-risk” category should receive vaccination until more information and evidence is available.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Hywel Dda UHB, please visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/covid19-vaccination

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