Local health professionals are urging families to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during this February half-term.

To make jabs easy to access there are multiple vaccine drop-in clinics across Liverpool and a mobile vaccine bus.

School immunisation teams have been visiting every secondary school in the city.

They are currently running follow-up sessions offering more first and second doses to all 12-15 year olds.

Five to 11-year-olds are also being offered the vaccine. GPs are writing to parents who have children in that age group who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Not all the reaction to the campaign has been positive. Some parents believe that the risk of the vaccine doesn’t outweigh the benefits the jab would give to their children.

There is also a petition to not roll out the vaccine to five to 11-year-olds until phase three trials are completed.

Organisers of the petition say that they believe it should be withheld because there is not enough long-term safety data.

Health professionals are also split on the matter.

Former Welsh public health chief Dr Roland Salmon has voiced his support for pausing the rollout.

He is part of  group of UK doctors and health professionals who have come together to call for a pause until there is data to support it.

The Children’s Covid Vaccine Advisory Group (CCVAG) have written a letter to the UK government and its advisers, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The letter compiled evidence to show these vaccines may be more harmful to children than expected.

However, local health professionals in the region are keen to remind parents that giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people is completely safe. Also that it isn’t just to protect them, but to protect vulnerable family members with existing health conditions.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, a local GP and Chair of NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

“Lots of parents I speak to as a GP think that if their child has already had COVID-19, they no longer need to get a vaccination or booster – but that’s not true.

“It’s still really important to be fully vaccinated as this will also provide children and their families with the very best protection against any future infection too.

“So if you or your child hasn’t been fully vaccinated yet, please don’t delay any longer – we’d urge you to come down to one of our many local vaccination sites and grab a jab together this half term.”

Andrea Pringle, 36 year-old mother of two from Toxteth, told MerseyNewsLive about her opinion regarding young children being offered the jab.

She said: “I’m unsure how I feel about it, although I’ve had the vaccine myself.

“I don’t know yet if I will take my kids to be vaccinated. Kids that age are too young to consent to having the vaccine themselves, so we have to make the decision for them and I don’t feel right about that.”

Elsewhere in Europe, Sweden have decided against recommending the vaccine for children aged 5-11. Its health agency said: “With a low risk of serious disease for kids, we don’t see any clear benefit.”

Since 12-15 year olds were first offered the vaccine in December 2021, the NHS has delivered 2.1 million vaccinations to children and young people in that age group across the country.

For more information on getting your COVID-19 vaccine or booster, please visit here.

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