CHILDREN in the Borders aged five to 11 years old will receive details of their coronavirus vaccination appointment over the coming days.

Those in this age group will be vaccinated in community clinics from March 19.

Appointments are being scheduled according to age, with 11-year-olds invited first, followed by those aged eight to 10 and then those between five and seven years old.

Where there are siblings, efforts are being made to invite them to back-to-back appointments to avoid multiple trips for families, according to an NHS Borders spokesperson.

Nicola Macdonald, clinical service manager of vaccination at NHS Borders, said: “We continue to prioritise those five to 11-year-olds who are at risk, or who live with someone who is severely immunosuppressed.

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“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 when making their decision.

“All other five to 11-year-olds will receive their appointment letters in due course, with older children invited first and families invited together wherever possible.”

Children in this age group are being offered a paediatric dose of the vaccine, which is a third of the size of an adult dose.

Those with specific medical conditions or who live with someone who is severely immunosuppressed are eligible for two doses at least eight weeks apart, and those who are severely immunosuppressed are eligible for three doses at least eight weeks apart.

All other children are being offered two doses at least 12 weeks apart.

Those who have specific medical conditions which place them at greater risk from COVID-19 will continue to be prioritised.

Details of how to rearrange unsuitable appointments are included in the letters.

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Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Borderers aged 75 and over, and those individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed will soon be called forward for their second booster vaccination.

People in those groups will be invited as they become eligible from at least 24 weeks after their last booster, with the first groups receiving appointments from March 31.

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NHS Borders’ teams will begin vaccinating residents in care homes for older adults from March 16.

Ms Macdonald added: “We know that these high priority groups are at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and following further advice from the JCVI, we are now offering a second booster dose of the vaccine to these people.

“Vaccination has been our most effective tool against coronavirus, and getting fully vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, especially if you are at greater risk from the virus.

“I continue to encourage everyone to receive the doses they are eligible for as and when they are called forward.”