Suffolk children aged 12 and over with neuro disabilities, underlying conditions and severe learning disabilities to be offered Covid vaccines from August
Health bosses in Suffolk have confirmed a handful of specific groups of youngsters aged 12-18 will be offered Covid-19 vaccines from August.
Friday's local outbreak engagement board meeting of health, council and police bosses in Suffolk heard that those aged 12 and upwards with severe neuro disabilities like Down's Syndrome, children with underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression - those where the immune system doesn't function as it should, youngsters with severe learning disabilities, and 17-year-olds who are three months from turning 18 will all be offered a jab.
Those aged 12-17 who are household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed will also be offered jabs, although health leaders said more work needed to happen to establish who those people were.
Cath Byford, chief nurse with Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The JCVI [Joint Commission for Vaccination and Immunisation] have advised that some children and young people over the age of 12 with specific underlying conditions that puts them at risk of serious Covid should be offered the vaccinations.
"Into August we will commence vaccination of three different cohorts of children over the age of 12."
She added: "We know who those individuals are in those cohorts. The third cohort is 12 to 17-year-olds who are household contacts of people who themselves are immunosuppressed, so the work is to try and work out who those children are.
"The children that are three months off their 18th birthday will be able to book through the national booking system once that mechanism is opened.
"The other cohorts will be contacted directly, or their parents will be contacted to book in vaccinations."
The plan aims to begin offering those before children return to school from the summer holidays in early September.
Ms Byford said that around three quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds have now had a first dose of the vaccines, which means that 'we will get smaller numbers but they will be the people that are harder to reach or harder to convince'.
Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive for West Suffolk, Ipswich and East Suffolk and North East Essex CCGs, said: "We are really pleased with the 18-29 cohorts to have got over 70 per cent with a first jab because it has been a challenging cohort for reasons we understand.
"For Suffolk specifically, there is a big focus now on certain wards of Ipswich where vaccination rates are lower, so we are working with Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council and lots of partners to improve that position."