Update about vaccination for under 18s
The Sussex Vaccination Programme has released an update about vaccination for under 18s on 20 August. They set out what is happening for three groups:
- clinically extremely vulnerable 12 to 15 year olds
- 12 to 15 year olds who live with someone who is immunosuppressed
- all 16 and 17 year olds
If you have a 16 or 17 year old you will receive an invitation now. But for 12 to 15 year olds the message is that you will be contacted by your local vaccination service or GP to offer you a booked appointment “in the coming days”. They have also set up a webpage that they will continue to update so check this for the latest information. The timing of invitations for 12 to 15 year olds and the availability of walk in appointments for 16 to 17 year olds is not the same in all parts of Sussex at the moment. But invitation letters and calls have started.
Which 12 to 15 year olds are meant to get invited for vaccination?
The government is following scientific advice which identified the following as most at risk: children with severe neurodisabilities, Down syndrome, immunosuppression, profound and multiple or severe learning disabilities, or those who are on the Learning Disability Register. This is not exactly the same set of children as were advised to shield earlier in the pandemic.
What do I do if my child doesn’t get invited for vaccination?
We know there are many parents of the most vulnerable 12 to 15 year olds who have been waiting for this news ever since the national announcement was made a few weeks ago. If you think your child is in the group identified above, you want them to be vaccinated and you do not get an invitation for them on or after 23rd August, you could email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Sussex vaccine enquiry phone line: 0800 433 4545.
If you feel that there are good medical reasons why your 12-15 year old should be vaccinated but they may not fit exactly in the group that has been identified, you could approach your child’s GP or consultant and ask them to use their clinical discretion to consider this. In a recent letter from the NHS to GPs and primary care networks (PCNS) it says that any approach by parents should be considered and clinical judgement used around eligibility.
Can I ask for arrangements to meet my child’s needs?
You should be able to ask for this when you call to book the appointment. Local vaccination teams are getting some training on vaccinating children but in the meantime you may want to refer to the guidance that was written about supporting adults with learning disabilities or autism when they were vaccinated. And Amaze (together with PaCC and ESPCF) has produced a tip sheet for vaccination centre staff that you can print or download to a phone to take with you.
Watch this space
Amaze and the parent carer forums in Sussex are asking on your behalf for more information about when appointments will start and how you will be able to arrange reasonable adjustments so your child can get their vaccination safely.