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The NHS vaccination campaign which has seen all of the age groups on Arran being offered the vaccine has now been extended to include 16- and 17-year-olds who will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The extension of the younger age bracket follows the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and it also includes children between 12 and 15 years old who are in key groups.
This includes 12- to 15-year-olds with severe neuro-disabilities, those with Down’s Syndrome, or underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, those with profound and multiple learning disabilities and those 16-year-olds who have any of these conditions or other underlying conditions that place them at higher risk of serious Covid.
Young people aged 12 years and above and who live in the same household of people (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed will also be offered the vaccine.
And while NHS Ayrshire and Arran will not provide separate vaccination figures for Arran itself – Arran is included in figures for Ayrshire and Arran – Lynne McNiven, director of public health, described the uptake on Arran as ‘an incredible response to our local mass vaccination programme on the island…’
Those Ayrshire and Arran figures show that 93.1 per cent of 18+ year-olds have been given their first dose and 78.6 per cent have received their second dose. In the 40+ category 97.5 per cent have received their first dose and 93.9 per cent have had their second.
Clinics offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are planned for 16- to 17-year-olds attending Arran High School on Thursday August 19 and Friday August 20. These pupils will be contacted by the school with further information. School leavers aged between 16 and 17 years can attend on a drop-in basis on either day between 4pm and 5.30pm.
Lynne McNiven said: ‘The Covid vaccine is our best way out of this pandemic and we ask 16 to 17-year-olds now eligible to please come forward. We aim to have first doses delivered to this age group by the end of September.’
Chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith added: ‘In line with the latest JCVI advice we are now be offering a first dose of the Covid vaccination to young people aged between 16 and 17. The programme has always carefully assessed all the benefits and potential risks and offered vaccine to groups where this benefit is clear. The research and evidence shows that is the case for this age group and they should now be called forward for an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine.’