Children aged 6 months to 4 years at higher risk of coronavirus are being offered the COVID-19 vaccine
The Public health Agency (PHA) is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 6 months to 4 years at higher risk of coronavirus, in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice.
Children aged 6 months to 4-years-old in a clinical risk group are now being offered two infant doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, eight weeks apart.
Rachel Spiers, Immunisation and Vaccination Programme Manager at the PHA, said: “Coronavirus is more serious in children with certain underlying health conditions, for these reasons they are being offered the COVID-19 vaccine. We would encourage all parents to read about the vaccines for children from reliable sources such as the PHA information leaflet on our website or speak to a healthcare professional if you have any questions. The PHA would urge everyone who falls into an eligible group to take up the offer of free vaccination when available.”
Children at serious risk from the complications of coronavirus infection include:
- those with severe neurodisabilities;
- those whose immune systems do not work as well (immunosuppression);
- those with profound and multiple or severe learning disabilities (including Down’s syndrome), and those on the learning disability register;
- those with long-term serious conditions affecting their health.
Why is my child being offered the coronavirus vaccine?
Your child’s paediatrician should advise you about the COVID-19 vaccinations and assess whether or not your child is eligible.
Getting the vaccine will help to protect your child against coronavirus. The vaccine helps to build up immunity to coronavirus, so the body can fight it off more easily. If your child is vaccinated, they are much less likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus or need to go to hospital.
Infants and young children with underlying health conditions are seven times more likely to be admitted to paediatric intensive care units with severe coronavirus, compared to those without underlying health conditions.
How to book your appointment
Some parents may receive a letter or a phone call to invite their child to an HSC Trust clinic for vaccination. If you receive an invitation letter, it will explain how to make the appointment for your child. Vaccinations are being offered at HSC Trust vaccine clinics throughout Northern Ireland.
The leaflet to support parents of children at serious risk from the complications of coronavirus infection is available at www.pha.site/6monthsto4years.