The GHA is proud that the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 5-11 year olds got off to a flying start this week. The children’s vaccine will be offered in two special paediatric doses, which are a more dilute version of the Pfizer vaccine, and will be given 21 days apart. Parents and guardians will receive an invitation to an appointment at the Primary Care Centre between 2pm and 6pm.
The Director of Public Health has recommended this bespoke vaccine programme for Gibraltar to try to reduce the amount of virus still circulating in the community, and the chances of spread to those most vulnerable. Some children are missing school as a result of testing positive for COVID-19. Whilst symptoms are usually mild in the 5-11 year old age group, children can carry the virus and pass this onto household and social contacts. This is a specific consideration for Gibraltar, which has a very close-knit community and intergenerational households.
The Director of Public Health in Gibraltar has reviewed the global safety data, which shows that the most common side effect reported is a sore arm at the injection site that normally gets better after a few days. An information leaflet produced by the Director of Public Health details the safety evidence, guidance on potential side-effects and how these should be reported. The children’s vaccine is being offered on the basis of informed consent and parents are strongly encouraged to seek information from evidence-based sources such as the GHA, JCVI and World Health Organisation in order to make their decision. The leaflet produced by the Director of Public Health has been distributed to all parents via schools and is also available via the GHA and online: http://www.gha.gi/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/GHA_CovidVaccine_5-11_FAQs-Final.pdf
If your child is aged 5-11 years old and has not been offered an appointment, please register online: https://www.gha.gi/registration-for-the-covid-19-vaccines-for-5-11-year-olds/.
The GHA Director General, Dr Patrick Geoghegan OBE, said: ‘I strongly encourage all parents of children aged 5-11 to review the evidence and bring their children forward for vaccination against COVID-19. The global data shows that the special paediatric doses are safe for young children, protect them from contracting the virus themselves and prevent them from passing it on to vulnerable relatives. This is especially important in Gibraltar where children have frequent and prolonged contact with their grandparents. I’d like to sincerely thank all the hard working staff across the GHA who are taking on extra hours and responsibilities over and above their regular shifts in order to continue to deliver Gibraltar’s world-class COVID-19 vaccination programme’.