How can I book my child's Covid vaccine? Everything you need to know

The low dose jab became available this week

From Monday 4 April, children between the ages of five and 11 are able to be booked in for a "low dose" Covid jab.

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Prior to this, only children with serious health conditions were able to be vaccinated against Covid, but the new rules open up the vaccine to all.

Children aged 5-11 can now have their Covid vaccine

How to book the Covid vaccine for children

Bookings for the vaccine for children opened on Saturday 2 April and can be made using the NHS vaccines website or by calling 119 from 7 am.

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The vaccine given to children will be a third of the strength of the ones received by adults and will be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. As with adults, children must receive two doses, 12 weeks apart.

Where can children have the Covid vaccine?

According to the government website, you can book children's vaccination appointments online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy.

Children can have their Covid vaccine at walk-in centres

You can also find a walk-in vaccination site to get your child vaccinated without needing an appointment, or you wait to be contacted by a local NHS service such as your GP surgery to arrange their appointments.

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Is the Covid vaccine safe for children?

Professor Steve Turner, from The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "This vaccine promises to be very safe, it promises to be very effective. We know this because other countries have been using it in their young children as well."

Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said: "My 13-year-old son has had his two vaccinations and I'll be booking my 10-year old daughter in for hers at the earliest opportunity.

"I would encourage all parents to read the NHS information available and consider doing the same."

The Covid vaccine is considered safe for children, according to medical experts

What are the Covid vaccine side effects in children?

The vaccine side effects in children are the same as in adults.

Any side effects are usually mild and should only last one or two days and include:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • flu-like symptoms including shivering (chills)

Why are children being offered the Covid vaccine?

While Covid is mild in many children, it can have long-term effects, especially if they suffer from long-Covid.

"It's a very unpleasant illness for children," Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool, told Sky News. "If they have a weakened immune system or if they live in a family where a member has a weakened immune system, the consequences can be devastating."

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Is Covid still an issue in the UK?

The UK currently has its highest number of Covid cases ever, according to the Office of National Statistics, with hospital admissions of people with Covid at their highest since February 2021.

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