HSE Encourage Vaccination of Children aged 5-11 years

HSE Media Statement: 10th January 2022

Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo)

With a positive uptake in registration numbers for children aged 5-11 years of age for the COVID-19 vaccination, the HSE is encouraging parents to familiarise themselves with the HSE advice issued on the vaccination of children.

Clinical trials showed that this vaccine was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in children. Though serious illness from COVID-19 is rare in this age group, they are even less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19, if they are vaccinated.  It may also help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. This is especially important if children and young people are living with someone who is at risk of severe COVID-19.The children’s vaccine – Comirnarty/Pfizer BioNTech has been recommended by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and approved by the European Medicines Agency.

The HSE has provided dedicated information for parents on hse.ie, which outlines the benefits and risks of the vaccine, read this here. The HSE has also published a child-friendly comic all about coming to the vaccination centre and how it works, read this here.

Director of Public Health North East, Dr Augustine Pereira said We know from listening to parents that they have questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. Parents should get their information from a trusted source, such as hse.ie or a medical professional when making the decision to vaccinate their child.

“The vaccine offers protection for children and young people who have health conditions that put them at high risk of severe COVID-19 and protection for healthy children and young people from severe COVID-19 – although this is very rare in this age group. It also offers protection from COVID-19, and complications from COVID-19 such as ‘long COVID’ and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children. It may also help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. This is especially important if children and young people are living with a younger child or an adult who is at risk of severe COVID-19.”

How to Register

The quickest and easiest way to register is online. You will need a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, Eircode, a mobile phone number and an email address. Alternatively, parents can call HSELive on 1800 700 700 to register their child over the phone.

Children who don’t have a PPSN can be vaccinated, their parents can register them on the phone with HSElive.

Once a parent registers their child, they will receive a text message with details of their appointment. The children’s Covid-19 vaccine is only available in the  vaccination centres. 

Getting the vaccine

In line with NIAC guidance, children aged 5 to 11 years old will be offered a Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) vaccine. The vaccine for children is a smaller dose than the vaccine for adults. They will need two doses approximately 3 weeks apart. The protection they get has been shown to be similar to the protection the Pfizer vaccine provides for adults. 

Parent consent required

A parent or legal guardian will need to give consent for their child to get their COVID-19 vaccine. If a parent registers online, they will be sent a text message with a link to give consent before the appointment for vaccination. This will be sent to the number you used to register.

A parent or legal guardian will need go to the appointment in person to give consent if they:

  • have not given consent online
  • have registered by phone - it is not possible to give consent over the phone

Attending the appointment

This HSE guide for children coming for their vaccine can be read with your child before attending for vaccination.

Getting my COVID-19 vaccine (Comic) (PDF, 1.6 MB, 2 pages)

Most children aged 5 to 11 year olds will be vaccinated at a vaccination centre near their home. They will need to be accompanied by an adult. Children attending alone will not be vaccinated.

Where possible, the child’s parent or legal guardian should attend the vaccination appointment with their child. If the parent or legal guardian has given consent online in advance, it is possible for them to ask another adult to bring their child to the appointment. If consent has not been given yet, the child's parent or legal guardian has to be there.

If the appointment time does not suit, parents can change the appointment by calling HSELive on 1800 700 700. Parents of children with additional needs who might need an alternative appointment at a quieter time, and parents who wish to make appointments for more than 1 child at the same time can also contact HSELive.

Appointments have been spaced out to keep everybody safe. People are asked to arrive on time for their appointment but not more than 5 minutes before.

For more information see COVID-19 vaccination for children.

ENDS

Last updated on: 10 / 01 / 2022