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Cambridgeshire pupils told to travel to Essex or Suffolk for Covid-19 jabs



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Parents at a Cambridgeshire school have been told they should travel to Suffolk or Essex to get a jab for their children after NHS teams left the site before vaccinating everyone eligible.

Comberton Village College students were given a link to book a jab online - but parents discovered they could not book any centres in Cambridgeshire.

Instead they would have to travel to Stowmarket, Colchester, Ipswich, Clacton, Bury St Edmunds or Thurrock.

NHS chiefs told the Cambridge Independent that local sites will be added soon.

Students told to travel miles for a jab after teams failed to vaccinate everyone in a Cambridgeshire school.
Students told to travel miles for a jab after teams failed to vaccinate everyone in a Cambridgeshire school.

One parent said: “It seems mad that we have a large vaccination hub in The Grafton centre but we are being asked to travel miles away for a jab - I’m prepared to travel but this is ridiculous.”

Comberton Village College Principal Peter Law forwarded a message to parents with a link to book a Covid jab appointment for their child. He wrote: "We received the attached letter earlier this week which we have been asked to forward to you. The letter does say where you can book vaccinations, but none of the centres are very local. We have no further information regarding vaccinations in school; as soon as we do we will let you know."

A parent responded that "whilst it is possible to log to the site it is not possible to book time for vaccination and the system doesn't seem to work. We called them and were told that the system would go live on Saturday and that more Cambridgeshire vaccination sites will be added to the system".

A spokesperson for the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, which is running the school vaccination programme in Cambridgeshire, admitted the problem.

He said: “The one with the Cambridge and the Norfolk links has only just been populated and is being sent out to Cambridgeshire schools now. There was a slight delay of working with vaccination centres but people should now receive the correct link through their schools.

“We will also be running catch-up clinics in schools if people prefer that.”

He added that this link was only for schools where teams had failed to vaccinate everyone on their visit. However, soon all students aged 12-15 would be allowed to book a jab though a vaccination hub rather than waiting for schools to hold vaccinations.

In the coming days, it will become possible to book appointments for this age group at the majority of our large scale vaccination centres via the National Booking Services

Mike Passfield, clinical operations director for the large scale vaccination centres run by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “We are pleased to be offering one dose of the vaccine to all 12- to 15-year-olds which will give good protection and help stop the spread of the virus to other people, including within schools.

“In the coming days, it will become possible to book appointments for this age group at the majority of our large scale vaccination centres via the National Booking Services at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119. Appointments for this age group will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 8.30am to 4pm and from 4.30pm to 7.30pm on certain evenings at different sites. In addition, during half term week (October 25-31), appointments will also be available between 8.30am and 4pm.

“Vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds cannot be accessed on a walk-in basis so please ensure you book an appointment before visiting our centres.

“Alternatively, parents and young people can still choose to access the vaccination programme being delivered in schools by Hertfordshire and East Anglia Community School Aged Immunisation Service.”

The vaccinations team warned that if a student has tested positive for Covid-19 they should wait at least 28 days before having a jab.

Dr Gary Howsam, chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Millions of children around the world have had a Covid-19 vaccine – it’s safe and effective and is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves and those we care about.

“The majority of 12- to 15-year-olds are currently being offered one dose of the vaccine to give them the best protection against Covid-19. This includes children who turn 12 on the date of their vaccination.

“However, two doses eight weeks apart will be offered to children where their healthcare professional has identified they have a condition that means they are at high risk from Covid-19, or if they live with someone who is immunosuppressed.”

“We’re making it as easy as possible for people to get their jab, and consent for 12 to 15-year-olds will be sought in line with national guidelines at their vaccination appointment.

“Our friendly vaccination teams will be happy to answer any questions you have. They can also provide extra support if you are nervous or anxious, just speak to a member of the team at any of our vaccination sites and let them know what you need to feel relaxed and comfortable.”

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