GP offers reassurance as 12 to 15s to be offered second jab

Dr Richard West is pictured at Woolpit Health Centre. New year's Honours

Dr Richard West is pictured at Woolpit Health Centre. New year's Honours - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich GP is encouraging parents to take up the offer of a second dose for their children after seeing "nearly as many" instances of long Covid cases in children.

Advice issued this week said those aged 12 to 15 should be offered a second dose, no sooner than 12 weeks after their first. 

Dr Richard West from Woolpit Health Centre reassured families that side effects from the vaccine are better than the effects of long Covid in children. 

Dr West said: "I have nearly as many children with long Covid as adults. 

"Covid is a very debilitating illness. The risk to adults is more than the risk to children. 

"If I had youngsters then I would get them vaccinated."

He said he would not like to see vaccines compulsory and said doctors would be happy to talk to patients about it. 

This weekend, a mass vaccination centre will open at Newmarket Racecourse to jab 10,000 people who have already been invited amid concern about the Omicron variant. 

The government has set a target for all eligible people aged 18 to 40 to receive a booster by the end of January - though Boris Johnson urged people to wait until they were contacted by the NHS.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has looked at extensive clinical evidence for giving vaccines to children and young people and has found the benefits outweigh the risks. 

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Flu-like symptoms are one side effect of getting the vaccine. If your symptoms get worse ring NHS 111. 

You can book a vaccine here.