Commenting on the announcement by the chief medical officers for the United Kingdom that 12 to 15-year-olds will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Ruth Rankine, director of primary care at the NHS Confederation, said:
“The announcement by the nation’s four chief medical officers about whether children aged 12-15 should be offered a coronavirus vaccine offers some clarity.
“We are only just scratching the surface in understanding the impact that the pandemic has had on children and young people’s wellbeing, with demand for mental health services having increased significantly already across this age group.
“The need to keep one another safe and reduce disruption to education and our daily lives, as well as protect NHS services through vaccination, alongside the range of established infection control measures, are as important as ever, as is the need for clear communication in explaining the benefits of vaccination.
“We now await the detailed guidance on how this will be delivered but should not underestimate the potential impact this will have on primary care teams particularly as they also commence a COVID-19 booster programme as well as managing increasing complexity of patient need.
"The choice of whether to have the vaccine or not may be difficult for many, and as we know from previous announcements, patient questions and anxiety can end up being directed to primary care, so this will need an effective communication programme which responds to questions from parents and children but equally does not further significantly increase workload on these services.”
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