A nine-year-old Oxfordshire boy has spoken about how he will get the COVID-19 jab when invited by the NHS to help protect his dad.
Arthur wants to join his mum in doing all he can to help keep dad Rupert as safe as possible from the virus because he knows that he is at higher risk of becoming unwell if he is infected.
Arthur said: “I am happy I can do my bit to help protect daddy against COVID-19. Also, I didn’t really like home schooling, so I want to get the vaccine to help me if do catch it, as I don’t want to get stuck at home again.”
Rupert underwent a successful kidney transplant five years ago and is on daily medication which supresses his immune system so his body does not reject the new kidney. This means he can have reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases, including COVID-19.
From this week, Arthur will be one of thousands of five to 11-year-old children to be invited by the NHS to get their first dose of the COVID vaccine, either because they themselves are in a clinical risk group or they live with someone who is immuno-suppressed.
In Oxfordshire, there are just over 2,000 eligible children in this group, which includes those with diabetes, immuno-suppression, learning disabilities and other conditions as outlined by the UK Health Security Agency in the Green Book.
Parents and guardians should wait for the NHS to contact them when it is their child’s turn to get the vaccine, with local NHS teams already contacting those who are eligible. Vaccinations for five to 11-year olds are being delivered initially by GP-led teams and hospital hubs.
When invited, parents and guardians are asked to attend with their children and are asked to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment.
Dr David Chapman, Oxford GP and clinical chair at Oxfordshire CCG, said: “We continue to see how vaccines give significant protection against severe illness from COVID, including the omicron variant, so it is important that our youngest, who are clinically at risk or living with someone who is, get protected against the virus.
“Without the vaccine, they are at higher risk because of the conditions they have or they could also bring COVID home to their parents or family members who are vulnerable.”
All eligible five to 11-year-olds will be offered two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart – a third of the amount used for adult vaccinations. However, a child cannot receive any vaccination until four weeks after a positive test for coronavirus.
Latest data shows COVID cases increasing among children aged from two to school year six – and have increased from school years seven to 11.
The NHS is also reminding parents and guardians that children can continue to get vaccine protection from flu, with millions of reminder texts, letters and emails going out.
More children than ever are eligible for a free flu vaccine this winter, including all two and three-year-olds and all pupils from reception age to school leavers, to drive up protection from the virus. Children’s flu vaccinations are given via a quick and painless nasal spray in most cases, rather than by injection.
Young people aged four to 16 will have been offered the flu vaccination through their school, but parents can phone 119 to find out how to book if their child has missed it.
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Published: 1 February 2022