Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Health Secretary’s announcement that he accepts the JCVI recommendation to offer Covid vaccinations to primary school-aged children from April.
“We are pleased that the Health Secretary has accepted the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that Covid vaccinations can be offered to all children aged five to 11 in England.
“Coronavirus infection rates among this age group have been very high in recent months, with a knock-on serious impact on both pupil and staff absence at primary schools.
“Making vaccinations available could help to reduce educational disruption in primary education and it seems an important step forwards in how we live with Covid. Clearly, however, the decision on whether or not to take up the offer of a vaccination is entirely a matter for parents.
“We note that this is a non-urgent offer to be extended to all children in this age group during April. We would like to have seen a little more urgency, given the extent of the current disruption to the education of children in this age range.
“It’s also currently unclear as to whether or not primary schools will be expected to play a role in this vaccination programmes. We await further details on that.”