Excitement and nerves as children vaccinated in schools

MORE than 10,000 children in 159 schools across the region have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine today.

While some regions organised the vaccine rollout of 5 to 11-year-olds in health centres, the Valencia government opted for health workers going into schools to give the jabs. And according to the health department the day went smoothly without any problems,

The region has begun the vaccination process with 11, 10 and 9-year-olds in their own schools in an attempt to get as many children jabbed before the Christmas holidays as possible, given that children have the highest incidence rate of coronavirus infection of any population group. The vaccination of this age group was only confirmed on Tuesday last week, by the Spanish government, and the allocated 150,000 doses of Pfizer pediatric vaccine were received in the region this Monday. With such a short time scale, schools have been under great pressure to get ready in time, having to find a suitable space for vaccinating the children and then an area for them to wait for 15 minutes, as well as needing signed authorisation from parents in little more than 24 hours from when the education department provided the necessary form for them to complete.

The speed of the operation meant many school staff spent the weekend getting their centres ready for the arrival of the doctors and nurses today.

Originally the children were going to be vaccinated behind “closed doors”, but after pressure from parents’ groups, the regional government allowed one family member to accompany each child. In order to comply with covid rules, ensuring safety and avoiding large crowds, schools then had to reorgise their planning and include one-way systems for mums and dads.

Speaking today on Cadena Ser radio, head of Health Promotion and Prevention at the Health Department, José Antonio Lluch, said that an estimated 60 – 80% of parents in the region had so far authorised the vaccination of their children. He also said that those families who hadn’t given in their authorisations could still do so and that there would be other opportunities to vaccinate their little ones, although the ideal option is to vaccinate them as soon as possible.

In response to criticism that the process had been rushed, Lluch explained that there was no other option, it was this or wait and the authorities had preferred to administer the received doses as soon as possible,

The aim is to have all 11, 10 and 9-year-olds jabbed by the end of term, 22 December, and in the first week back to school in January, the programme will resume with 5 to 8-year-olds. The second jab will be given in eight weeks.

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