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COVID-19: Children aged five to 11 in England can now get vaccinated against coronavirus | UK News

Five million children in England aged between five and 11 can get vaccinated against COVID-19 from today.

Bookings opened for the youngsters on Saturday and can be made using the NHS vaccines website or by calling 119 from 7am.

Children will be offered two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, at least 12 weeks apart, at a third of the normal strength.

Hundreds of sites will offer vaccinations from today, with more joining the programme later this week.

Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said the vaccines still “remain the best defence” against coronavirus.

She said: “My 13-year-old son has had his two vaccinations and I’ll be booking my 10-year old daughter in for hers at the earliest opportunity.

“I would encourage all parents to read the NHS information available and consider doing the same.”

Candice White, 32, from Nottingham, has three children between the ages of one and 10 and said she will vaccinate them “if it’s going to protect them”.

“We live in a country where we can get it for free. Why not do it?”

But some people have said that they have learned to “live with” the virus and see no point in vaccinating their children now.

Like 30-year-old Angela Dyer, who said her five-year-old daughter has been “going to school the whole time” and has been fine.

She said: “It’s too soon. I don’t think it’s necessary. If there was more research around it then possibly, but I don’t think it’s needed for her age group.”

Professor Steve Turner, from The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “This vaccine promises to be very safe, it promises to be very effective.

“We know this because other countries have been using it in their young children as well.”

Hassan Ahmed, who has two daughters aged four and 11, said the vaccines were important.

She said: “As a family we got COVID back in October and luckily me and the misuses were vaccinated, double vaccinated so we were okay, but Ali got impacted pretty hard.

“It wasn’t even during the point of having COVID, it was the recovery period that was really long for her. We’ve been waiting for some time for the vaccination, she was too young back then but they’re opening it up so we’re keen to get her first vaccinated, then double vaccinated hopefully soon.”

Her daughter Alyzeh Ahmed, 11, said: “I think it’s really important because when I had covid it was really bad as it just got worse and worse each day.

“School was really difficult as we had PE and stuff which felt like an extra-long day because you have to be sporty and energetic and I didn’t have any of that during that period.”

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The expansion of the vaccination programme comes as parents of young long COVID sufferers travelled to Downing Street to ask the government for more support.

Scott McFarland’s wife and daughter both have long COVID, and he said the impact on their lives has been immense.

He said his daughter used to have a very active life filled with social activities, but now she struggles to attend a full day at school, and is “constantly in pain and tired”.

“If we had the option to have our daughter vaccinated before and it would have prevented her condition now, then yes, we would have taken the decision.”

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