The Daily Telegraph

Moving the needle Rollout in schools

- What is the SAIS? Lizzie Roberts

Children aged 12 to 15 could begin receiving Covid vaccines from next week after the four Chief Medical Officers of the UK said they should be offered the jab. The NHS has been planning for a potential rollout, after Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, set out plans last month.

What happens next?

NHS England will begin writing to School Age Immunisati­on Service (SAIS) providers to prepare to begin the rollout, as soon as the Government gives the green light. It is understood 60 providers will deliver Covid jabs in schools. Public Health England (PHE) will also initially communicat­e with schools about the next steps of the roll-out and what they should expect. The Green Book, which provides informatio­n on vaccines and vaccinatio­n procedures for doctors, also needs to be updated on dosage use and guidelines.

The SAIS works with the NHS to deliver vaccines to school-age children. Typically, paediatric and school nurses deliver vaccines on behalf of these providers.

When will parents receive letters asking for their consent?

PHE is currently developing a national protocol and materials relating to consent for this age cohort. Parents are expected to receive informatio­n about vaccinatin­g their children, and asking for their consent, within the next week.

What vaccine will children be offered?

Children aged 12 to 15 will be offered one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The Chief Medical Officers believe offering one dose will reduce significan­tly the risk of a child getting Covid and reduce the risk of their transmitti­ng the virus. This may be reviewed later on.

What will the roll-out look like in schools?

It is expected that space will be made in classrooms or sports halls for jabs to be administer­ed. Arrangemen­ts could also be made for children to travel to vaccinatio­n sites.

What if my child does not attend school?

Local SAIS providers will co-ordinate different arrangemen­ts for children who are not in school, such as those who are homeschool­ed, in secure services, or specialist mental health facilities.

What are other countries doing?

France began vaccinatin­g over-12s in June. Switzerlan­d approved the Pfizer jab for over-12s in June, while in Italy 12 to 15-year-olds were authorised to receive Pfizer vaccines in May. The US, Canada, Japan and the UAE have also decided to jab over-12s.

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