Children aged between five and 11 in Scotland will be offered a Covid vaccination from March 19.
The decision comes following updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) last week.
Appointments will be sent out to children’s parents or guardians in age groups starting with 11-year-olds, then those between eight and 10, then finally those aged five to seven.
Efforts will be made to arrange appointments for siblings at similar times so that families don’t need to visit a vaccination clinic multiple times.
It is hoped that this timescale will mean that children between five and 11 will be able to get a second dose of the jab before the new school year in August.
‘The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks’
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf urged parents of children in this age group to keep themselves informed of the benefits of a Covid vaccination.
“Throughout the pandemic it has been our intention that we follow the clinical and scientific evidence available to us and I’d like to once again thank the JCVI for their hard work in scrutinising the science and providing clear guidance,” he said.
“We continue to prioritise at risk five to 11-year-olds. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks for children in this cohort and we urge parents and carers to read all the information available to them on NHS Inform before they make a decision.
“Scotland has one of the highest uptake rates for vaccination anywhere in the world and vaccination continues to be the cornerstone of our battle against Covid-19. The very high vaccination rates achieved so far have helped us considerably on our path back to normality and we urge everyone to take up their invitation when it is offered.”
What else has changed?
It was announced on Monday that a fourth jab will now be offered to anyone who is over the age of 75 or classed as high risk.
These changes to vaccinations are among many made to Covid guidance and restrictions this week.
In a statement on Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed that all remaining legal requirements relating to the virus will change to guidance by March 21.
This includes the wearing of face coverings and the need for hospitality businesses to collect track and trace information.