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From Monday, around 40,000 teens over 16 will be eligible to book their COVID-19 booster vaccination online or visit a walk-in site, the NHS has confirmed. To be eligible people must wait three months since they received their second jab.
As a part of the vaccination programme, the third dose was previously only available for those 18 and over.
Previously, for over-16s to qualify for the booster vaccine, they had to be classified as “high risk”, which would mean they were likely to become seriously ill if infected with the virus.
GP and deputy lead of the NHS vaccination programme Dr Nikki Kanani said: “The NHS Covid vaccination programme is expanding once again to offer eligible young people aged 16 and 17 the chance to book their boosters through the online booking service from tomorrow, with walk-in sites also available across the country, as the biggest and fastest vaccine drive in health service history continues at pace.
“Covid has caused so much disruption for so many families over the past two years, affecting young people’s lives and education, and getting vaccinated protects them, their family and their friends, letting them stay at school and continue socialising.
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From Monday, around 40,000 teens over 16 will be eligible to book their COVID-19 booster jab
The third dose was previously only available for those 18 and over
“We know that the best protection against coronavirus is to get vaccinated and I’d urge everyone, whatever your age, to come forward and get that vital top-up as soon as it is possible.”
Vaccines minister Maggie Throup, 64, added: “Thanks to the tireless dedication of the NHS, our booster programme has been a phenomenal success and allowed us to enjoy the festive season safely with loved ones.
“Omicron has spread rapidly across the UK and we’re doing everything we can to keep schools, sixth forms and colleges open as face-to-face teaching is so important.
“I encourage every young person who is eligible to get boosted now to protect yourself, your friends and family.”
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More than 889,700 teenagers aged 16 to 17, which is seven in ten, have received their first dose
More than 889,700 teenagers aged 16 to 17, which is seven in ten, have received their first dose of the vaccination since it became available to them in August.
Out of these, more than 600,000 have received their second dose.
The news comes after a further 81,713 cases were recorded on Saturday.
However, a leading expert on the virus has claimed the next variant of the pathogen could be “more severe” than Omicron.
The NHS has said invitations will be sent out this week encouraging teens to book their appointment
Jason Leitch, Scotland’s National Clinical Director, issued a Covid warning that people will need to “adapt” to the next strain of the virus.
He said: “We’ve had four variants, and they’ve got progressively worse.
“But, this one has got slightly better. Omicron didn’t come from Delta and Delta didn’t come from Alpha.
“That’s not how it works. They all come from the beginning.
“So you could get a more mild one, and that would help us and you would end up having fewer people in hospital.
“But you could also get a more severe one. So we have to be ready for all of those eventualities.”
The NHS has revealed invitations will be sent out this week encouraging teens to book their appointment for their booster jab through the online booking service or going to their nearest walk-in site.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, 52, said: “More than four in five adults in England have already been boosted, helping to protect them from severe illness and reduce the pressure on the NHS in the face of Omicron.
“We’re now extending the programme to 16 and 17-year-olds so they can top-up their immunity this winter to keep themselves and their friends safe.
“We can learn to live with Covid-19 if everybody comes forward for their vaccines and gets boosted now.”