Cornwall Council, Public Health Cornwall and NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly are teaming up to try and stop missed school days because of COVID-19 by encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.
Department for Education statistics show young people missed 328 million days learning in school due to absence in 2020-21, of which 270 million days were missed because of Covid. In 2018-19, the last ‘normal’ year before the pandemic, the figure was a fifth of that number.
Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Councillor Barbara Ellenbroek, said: “We want to give children in Cornwall the best start in life, part of that is providing a good level of education.
“Getting vaccinated is a good way to help slow the spread of the virus and it can reduce the risk of your child passing on the illness to those around them, especially vulnerable and elderly family members.”
Vaccinations are now available for all children over the age of 5 and child friendly clinics, including sensory lighting, therapy dogs and music, are being set up at sites across Cornwall, to help put children at ease.
Dr Whitney Curry, from Public Health Cornwall, said: “We have seen in recent weeks another increase in confirmed COVID cases as a new variant of Omicron moves across the UK, and we are likely to see more new strains in the future.
“Vaccines are not the full answer to the problem of COVID-19, but they are part of resources to help protect all our communities, especially the older generations and the more vulnerable members of our society.”
Data from the World Health Organisation shows that during the last 18 months in the UK and across the world, millions of children have been successfully and safely vaccinated against COVID-19.
The vaccine against COVID-19 can protect children against severe illnesses including long COVID. Vaccination also enhances future protection provided by a previous COVID-19 infection.
Iain Davidson, Chief Pharmacist from NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly said: “We know that some parents may be reluctant about getting their children vaccinated, but there is reassuring evidence that whilst children may commonly experience mild side-effects such as a sore arm, headache, tiredness and some achiness or flu-like symptoms such as chills, these side effects only usually last a few days.
“Serious side effects are very rare following a COVID-19 vaccination.”
Parents and guardians are encouraged to book a vaccination appointment for their children online, or just walk in at their nearest walk-in clinic. To find out the details of their nearest walk-in site visit the Grab a Jab website.