Great Britain

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UK paediatricians have expressed alarm about a “shambolic” vaccine rollout for children, saying doctors were being “left in the dark” about plans for the programme and unable to answer questions from patients.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said there were still no plans in place to vaccinate vulnerable 12- 15-year-olds, even though an announcement had been made extending the jab to healthy people over 16.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, RCPCH president, said:

The rollout of the vaccine programme for adults has been incredibly impressive but, for children and young people, it has been frankly shambolic. This is the second announcement around vaccinations for children or young people in the last three weeks but we still haven’t seen detailed plans for rollout of the first.

Kingdon said parents and paediatricians had been “left completely in the dark about how and when children and young people will be invited for vaccination”. She said: “There has been no information to parents and none to young people themselves, and that creates confusion and, for some families, real worry.”

She said doctors urgently needed information to communicate to parents.

She said:

Our members are constantly being asked questions by young people or their parents for which they don’t have the answers because the systems aren’t in place and the detailed advice has not been provided.

In England, at least, the national booking system for Covid vaccinations is still not taking bookings for anyone under the age of 18, more than two weeks after the ministerial announcement.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which recommended on Wednesday that jabs be given to 16- and 17-year-olds, has suggested that vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds will follow once more data is gathered. The change comes just two weeks after it said it would not be recommending jabs for healthy children, but that those with significant disabilities or who were living with vulnerable adults could be vaccinated.

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