People aged 16 and 17 in Portsmouth to be offered Covid vaccines

CALLS are being made for young people in Portsmouth to take an ‘important step’ towards ending the pandemic as vaccines will be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds.

Government has now accepted a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) for all people in that age group are given Covid jabs in a move that will affect around 1.4m teenagers nationwide.

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The teenagers will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer jab, with a decision on a second dose yet to be decided.

The Portsmouth NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Centre at Hamble House based at St James Hospital opened on Monday, February 1. Picture: Sarah Standing (010221-1969)

Public health boss for Portsmouth, Helen Atkinson, said: ‘The JCVI has a huge amount of experience in making recommendations on the rollout of vaccination programmes, including the Covid-19 vaccines. If they make the recommendation that 16- and 17-year-olds should receive the vaccination, we are very supportive of this.

‘It is important that as many people as possible continue to get their Covid-19 vaccinations which offer the best protection against the virus, the risk of getting seriously ill and/or the possible impact of long Covid.

‘Walk-in vaccination centres are available across Portsmouth or you can book an appointment online through the national booking system.’

It comes as the latest figures from NHS England showed 29,164 people aged between 18 and 29 in Portsmouth have had at least one vaccine - or 57.1 per cent.

Roger Batterbury, the chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth, added: ‘We are aware the JCVI and government are today set to recommend all 16 and 17-year-olds should be offered a Covid vaccine.

‘We will be actively encouraging local young people to get fully vaccinated at NHS vaccination centres through announcements on our website, social media platforms and on our stalls when we are out at events in the summer. We see this as another important step on our journey out of the pandemic.’

Previously Covid jabs were only offered to those over-12s who have underlying conditions or live with others at high risk.

However, some countries, such as the US, Canada and France, are routinely vaccinating people aged 12 years old and over.

According to NHS data, 223,755 under-18s in England have received a first vaccine dose.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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