Less than four per cent of Sheffield children under 12 receive at least one dose of Covid vaccine
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According to NHS England data, just 1,853 children had been vaccinated out of a population of 47,693 children aged five to 11 in Sheffield as of April 24, since the vaccination programme was launched.
The number of children to have received one dose currently stands at just over two per cent in Northern Ireland, compared with five per cent in England, nine per cent in Wales and 16 per cent in Scotland.
In South Yorkshire, Sheffield has the most vaccinated children, followed by Doncaster, with 1,465 vaccinated children or 5.3 per cent of its population of 27,521 children aged five to 11.
Meanwhile, in Rotherham, only 810 children were vaccinated (3.5 per cent of 23,387 children) and Barnsley with 806 children vaccinated (3.8 per cent of 20,945 children).
Nationally, NHS England data shows just over 242,400 children were vaccinated as of April 24, representing five per cent of the age group.
Earlier this year the Office for National Statistics, found that parents living with children under five were more likely to be vaccine hesitant than non-parents or parents not living with a dependent child.
Vaccine hesitancy was also found to be more common in more deprived areas and among people with a Black or minority ethnic background.
‘Vaccination important to protect ourselves’
Many children have also already had Covid-19 - around 85 per cent were thought to have had the virus by the end of January, according to estimates by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Rachel Spiers, Immunisation and Vaccination Programme Manager at the Public Health Agency, said there are several possible reasons for the lower vaccination rate in children.
Ms Spiers said: “For example, parents of children who have already had Covid-19 may feel that their children don’t need the vaccine. However, vaccination is one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill-health.
“Even if your child has already had Covid-19, it is still important to get them vaccinated, as being fully-vaccinated can offer them the best protection from the virus and severe disease, as we have seen that it can be possible to develop Covid-19 more than once.”
A NHS England spokesperson added: “The fastest and largest vaccine drive in NHS history has vaccinated more than 260,000 five-to-11 year-olds whose parents have decided to take up this offer, since it went live less than four weeks ago, following the JCVI’s recommendation of a non-urgent offer.
“Getting vaccinated is a personal choice between families and their children, and we have now sent invites to everyone eligible, including to the parents of one million children aged five and six last week – with people able to book an appointment via the National Booking System.”
The latest phase of the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination programme started on April 4 after updated guidance from the JCVI recommended that children would benefit from a non-urgent offer of Covid-19 vaccine.
All eligible children have been invited forward for their first dose, with parents being given information to allow them to make an informed decision.