MORE than 45,000 children aged between 12 and 15 years old in Swindon, Wiltshire and Bath & North East Somerset will be offered the coronavirus vaccine. 

It is expected the first local vaccinations will be given in the coming days. 

Children will need to have the consent of their parents to have the Covid-19 jab, which will be administered by teams from Virgin Care’s immunisation service team at all schools across the Clinical Commissioning Group area. 

The CCG's director of nursing and quality Gill May said: “We have been expecting this announcement for some time and in readiness have been working closely with our colleagues at Virgin Care to plan this next phase of the vaccination programme. 

“Virgin will visit all schools across the region over the coming weeks, and will work with both teaching staff and parents to ensure the process of offering the vaccine to as many eligible young people as possible is carried out in a safe and timely manner. 

“Since December, more than 1.3 million Covid-19 vaccines have been given out across our region, and we know that in doing so we have helped to save countless lives and reduce the spread of infection. 

“Aside from offering protection against coronavirus, giving the vaccine to this age group will help to stop our young people’s time at school from being disrupted, which in turn will support long-term wellbeing and mental health.”

The vaccination team will not administer a vaccine where there is any disagreement between the child and parent around consent, or if both parent and child have refused.

Teams will approach any parents and children who are undecided for a conversation, and, if appropriate, arrange a catch-up vaccination appointment.

Managing director for Virgin Care in the region Val Scrase said: “We already work with local schools to deliver the very successful school immunisation programme within schools safely and efficiently, and we’ll be contacting parents directly via their school in the coming days.

“As with all vaccines, ensuring proper consent from parent and child is very important and so we’ll be continuing to use our tried-and-tested electronic consent system, allowing parents to make an informed decision confident in the knowledge our vaccination team has their decision available on the day and will act accordingly.”