Update 7 March 2022: The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has now advised all children aged 5 to 11 should be offered 2 doses of the children’s Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 12 weeks apart. Parents are asked to book a time and location convenient for them by calling 0300 303 8322 or by completing this request form https://forms.office.com/r/Rn7Tifwj6S (opens in new tab)
14 January 2022
Hywel Dda University Health Board’s COVID-19 vaccination team is preparing to invite at-risk children aged 5-11 for their first COVID-19 vaccination and is asking people with parental responsibility for those newly eligible to contact the health board so an appointment can be arranged.
On 22 December 2021, the JCVI recommended (opens in new tab) that children aged 5 to 11 who are in an “at-risk” group* or are the household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed should be offered two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (opens in new tab), eight weeks apart. The minimum interval between any vaccine dose and COVID-19 infection should be four weeks.
Further information about the JCVI’s definition of an at-risk 5–11-year-old is available here (opens in new tab).
Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Following the JCVI’s recommendation just before Christmas, we have been working to identify eligible children living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire through GP records.
“However, we understand that many families with vulnerable 5–11-year-olds or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed are keen to protect them as soon as possible against the virus so those with parental responsibility can also contact us directly to provide their details.
“You can do so by completing an online form, available here (opens in new tab), or calling 0300 303 8322. We will begin to invite this group as soon as the vaccine is made available to us. Our current planning aims to start appointments week beginning 24 January.
“At the current time, the JCVI considers the balance of potential benefits and harms is in favour of vaccination for this group. I strongly advise parents and guardians to look at trusted sources and speak with their child, if possible, when making their decision. There is a lot of information out there about the COVID-19 vaccine, so please be careful to use only accurate and trusted information to help you answer any questions you may have.”
A guide for children aged 5-11 years who are at greater risk from COVID-19 infection is available to read here (opens in new tab). Further information is available from gov.wales/vaccine-coronavirus (opens in new tab) and the British Society for Immunology (opens in new tab) who have produced a free guide for the public (opens in new tab) about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bethan added: “This group, due to their age and clinical-risk, will be vaccinated by appointment only and our vaccination teams are working to ensure appointments are offered in a child-friendly and safe environment using a mixture of our current mass vaccination centres and community-based setting where more appropriate.”
The JCVI has not advised whether children aged 5 to 11, who are not in an “at-risk” category should receive vaccination until more information and evidence is available.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Hywel Dda UHB, please visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/covid19-vaccination (opens in new tab)
Notes to editor:
*JVCI definition of an at risk 5–11-year-old
Chronic respiratory disease
Including those with poorly controlled asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, cystic fibrosis, ciliary dyskinesias and bronchopulmonary dysplasia
Chronic heart conditions
Haemodynamically significant congenital and acquired heart disease, or less severe heart disease with other co-morbidity. This includes:
Chronic conditions of the kidney, liver or digestive system
Including those associated with congenital malformations of the organs,
metabolic disorders and neoplasms, and conditions such as severe gastro oesophageal reflux that may predispose to respiratory infection
Chronic neurological disease
This includes those with
Including diabetes mellitus, Addison’s and hypopituitary syndrome
Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including:
Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
Including hereditary spherocytosis, homozygous sickle cell disease and thalassemia major
Serious genetic abnormalities that affect a number of systems
Including mitochondrial disease and chromosomal abnormalities
All stages (first, second and third trimesters)