Covid vaccines are being injected into healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in schools across Britain today for the first time.
A single dose of Pfizer’s jab is being used in the hope that the roll-out will prevent further disruptions to their education.
Parental consent is being sought but children can overrule parents who do not want them to get the jab if deemed ‘competent’, in a move that has caused controversy.
Jack Lane, 14, was one of the first to be vaccinated in England as part of the extended rollout. After having his vaccine in Leigh-On-Sea in Essex this morning, he said: ‘I am proud to have had my vaccination so that I can remain in school and continue in my education – the jab was quick, easy, and painless.’
More than 3million under-16s are eligible for the vaccines and ministers expect at least 60 per cent to take up the offer.
The jabs are being administered at some schools in England today and the rollout is due to begin in Scotland and Wales later this week. In Northern Ireland, the head of the region’s vaccination programme said jabs are likely to be offered in schools from October.
The scientific community has been split over vaccinating healthy children against Covid because the virus poses such a low risk to them. No10’s own advisory panel said earlier this month that immunising them would only provide ‘marginal’ benefit to their health, and not enough to advise a mass rollout.