Parents with children aged between 12 to 15 have been urged to book their Covid jabs so they can ‘stay at school’ and ‘continue socialising’.

Around half a million vaccination appointments are being made available online in England this month as the death toll in England passed 150,000 yesterday.

Hundreds of schools will be visited over the next fortnight as part of the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme to tackle misinformation.

Even though the overall risk of youngsters becoming severely ill or dying from the virus is extremely low, Dr Nikki Kanani said the jab provides ‘reassurance’ to parents.

The deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme said: ‘I know how much disruption Covid has caused for so many families over the past two years, affecting young people’s lives and education.

‘Getting vaccinated protects them, their family and their friends, letting them stay at school and continue socialising.

‘The vaccine is safe and effective – my 13-year-old son had his first vaccination when I had my booster at our local pharmacy and it gave us both reassurance that he was protected as well, and he has recently topped up his protection with a second dose.

‘Young people can get their life-saving protection at a walk-in site or wait to get vaccinated at school, but the best way to make sure it happens quickly and conveniently is to book online now.’

Parents of pupils in the specified age group can book at up to 300 centres, while there are slots available at around 500 walk-in sites.

Since September, more than 1.4 million children aged 12 to 15 have had their first dose, while recent figures showed more than 500 children were admitted to hospitals in England with Covid in the week up to Boxing Day.

The government also announced in December that five to 11-year-olds, who are deemed clinically at-risk, or who live in a household with someone who is immunosuppressed, will also be given a new formulation of the Pfizer vaccine.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid stressed the vaccines will help keep schools open as children have already missed out on months of face-to-face education.

He said: ‘Keeping children in school is so important for their education, health and wellbeing.

‘Vaccines will protect young people from Omicron, help to keep schools open and protect their friends and families.

‘Many young people can get their first or second dose at school, at walk-in sites or parents can book one of the half a million vaccination appointments up for grabs across the country this month.’

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