The coronavirus vaccine programme is stepping up with jabs being offered to children aged between 12 and 15 and booster invites sent to around 1.5 million people in England.
Three million youngsters are eligible across the UK with vaccines being delivered primarily within schools.
Children will be offered jabs at some schools in England from Monday.
The rollout for 12 to 15-year-olds is also beginning in Scotland and Wales this week.
Young people in this age bracket in Scotland can go to drop-in clinics or wait for a letter offering them a scheduled appointment.
Jabs for children in Wales will be carried out at mass vaccination centres and some school settings.
In Northern Ireland, the head of the region’s vaccination programme said jabs are likely to be offered to children aged 12 to 15 in schools from October.
Meanwhile, guidance has been issued to headteachers to contact police if they believe protests could be held outside their buildings.
Last week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was aware some schools have been receiving campaign letters and emails with “misinformation” about the vaccine programme.
Its guidance stated: “In the event of a protest or disruptive activity outside a school, or if schools know a protest is planned, they should alert the SAIS (School Age Immunisation Service) provider, local authority and police contacts to discuss the best way to manage the situation.”
Children between 12 and 15-years-old will be offered a single dose of Pfizer with the aim of significantly reducing the chance of a young person getting COVID and passing the virus on.
Parental consent will not be needed if a child is considered competent to make a decision by themselves, but England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said for the “great majority of cases, children and their parents come to the same decision”.
Those eligible for booster jabs include those aged 50 and over, people living and working in care homes for the elderly and frontline health and social care workers.
Booster shots will also be available to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and anyone aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group for COVID.
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