NHS bosses say children aged 12-15 in Herefordshire will soon be offered the Covid jab, but the rollout has already started in Worcestershire.

The government decided to offer one dose of the Pfizer vaccine to the age group after taking advice from the chief medical officers for the four UK nations and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). 

As well as protecting individual young people from Covid-19, the NHS said extending the vaccine to this age group has wider benefits.

"It should reduce many outbreaks, which occur in schools and the need for time off, after two years of extensive disruption to education," the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said.

Parents and guardians will begin receiving invitation letters for their child’s Covid-19 vaccination, with first phase of the rollout already underway in Worcestershire.

Those in Herefordshire will follow, with invitations starting to go out next week.

The CCG has been asked why the rollout started in Worcestershire earlier than in Herefordshire.

Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones, acting director of Public Health for Herefordshire said: “I would encourage all parents and guardians to have their child vaccinated once they are invited.

“Whilst many younger teenagers may only experience mild, and sometimes even no, symptoms of Covid-19, we know that some can have significant short term symptoms and we don’t yet know the long term consequences of COVID-19 infection.

“In addition to protecting children and reducing further disruption to their education, this vaccine can also help protect the lives of other, more vulnerable, family members by reducing transmission.”

Dr Ian Tait, GP and clinical chair of the CCG ,said: “Parents and guardians will be contacted in the coming days with full details and information about the vaccination programme being offered to their children, as well as a link to the consent form which must be completed prior to the vaccination.

“Some people do experience mild side effects from the Covid-19 vaccination including tenderness in the vaccinated arm, feeling tired, headaches, aches and chills.

"These side effects tend to last for a day or two and can be treated with rest and over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol.”

Alongside the Covid-19 vaccination for 12-15 year olds, this winter, all school age children will also be offered a free flu vaccine.

Anyone over the age of 16 who has not yet had their first or second Covid-19 vaccination can book an appointment online or find their nearest walk-in site here.

The Covid-19 booster programme is also underway across Herefordshire and Worcestershire for people most at risk from Covid-19 who have had their second dose at least six month ago.