One million 16 and 17 year-olds invited to receive Covid jab

16 and 17 year-olds all over the country are being invited to get their Covid-19 jabs this week, as the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history looks set to get even bigger.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 10:55 am
Updated Friday, 20th August 2021, 12:36 pm

More than 61,465 16 to 17 year olds in the South East have already had their jab, including those who were previously eligible due to an underlying health condition.

Now, that number is set to get even bigger, as teenagers all over the country receive letters inviting them to head to their nearest vaccination centre and receive the life-saving jab.

The initiative started yesterday (Thursday 19) and some teenagers have already decided to take the plunge.

Georgie Stephens, one of the teenagers to receive their Covid-19 jab

“Being vaccinated means I can get back to normal life and the things I love doing,” said Georgie Stephens, 16, who took up the offer yesterday morning.

Her mother, Katie Stephens, who has already been double jabbed, said she was thrilled by the new initiative. “It means the whole family will soon be fully vaccinated.

“I thought it would be a while before the vaccine was available for 16 and 17 year olds so as soon as it was announced, we quickly booked an appointment to get Georgie protected as well.”

She added: “Georgie has had all her vaccinations right the way through childhood which means she is protected from other illnesses so why not this one, especially as this one has disrupted her school and social life the most. Whatever we can all do to get back to some form of normality is a no-brainer.”

Asked how she felt about seeing so many other teenagers being vaccinated alongside her daughter, Katie said: “It’s so encouraging. It’s almost like the younger ones are showing the older people the way to do it.”

The Joint Committee on vaccination and immunisation first offered guidance that all 16 and 17 year olds should be offered the first dose of the vaccine on August 6, and teenagers in that age group can now find their nearest centre by using the ‘grab a jab’ NHS online walk-in finder, with more sites opening every day.

Follow-up text messages will be sent out today (August 20) to ensure as many teenagers as possible are vaccinated ahead of their return to school in September.

Dr Vaughn Lewis, Medical Director for the NHS in the South East said: “Thanks to the dedication and hard work of NHS staff, and the teenagers who have already come forward for their COVID-19 jabs across Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the NHS in the South East has administered more than 61,465 first doses to 16 and 17-year olds, protecting themselves, their families, and their friends from the virus.

“The vaccine is safe and effective with nearly nine in 10 adults in England already taking up the offer, and I would urge anyone eligible, especially those 16 and 17 year olds heading back into school or college, to get their life-saving jab”

At-risk children between 12 and 15 years old, who are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19 or live with adults at increased risk to the virus will also be invited to receive the jab, with 5,328 children in the South East already protected under this category.

Alongside them will be children aged 12 and over who live alongside someone who is immunosuppressed, such as those receiving chemotherapy or who have had a transplant.