Evelina London invites vulnerable children to get COVID-19 vaccination

Posted on Tuesday 1st March 2022
A child with her vaccination certificate

Idris, 6, with her vaccination certificate

Evelina London is inviting children in South London aged five to 11 who are most at risk of COVID-19 to get vaccinated.

The vaccine is now available for children who are at serious risk of complications from COVID-19 or live with someone with a weakened immune system, in line with the Government’s guidelines. Evelina London’s dedicated vaccination centre offers a family-friendly space nearby the children’s hospital.

A child and their mother at our vaccination centre.

Six-year-old Idris Dean, from Haringey in north London, received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Evelina London’s vaccination centre. She attended with her mother Daniela, who suffers from severe asthma and fibromyalgia, which causes pain all over the body, and is at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Daniela, 38, said: “I’m really pleased Idris has received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Idris and her younger sister both have autism and don’t understand social distancing, so going out is difficult and because I have severe asthma and fibromyalgia we have to be extra careful. 

“I was nervous before Idris had her jab but the staff in the vaccination centre were fantastic. They were really friendly and great with Idris. They took time to explain everything to us and after she had the jab they gave her a goody bag and a certificate and played with her.

“The vaccination centre was very ordered and calm and I felt at ease throughout. I am really happy with my experience at Evelina London and we’re both looking forward to coming back later in the year for her second dose.”

Janet Powell, Director of Nursing, said: “We’re delighted to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable children. COVID-19 can be very severe in children at high risk and the vaccine is the best way to protect them from serious illness. It can also help to reduce transmission to others, including vulnerable family members. We’re encouraging parents and carers to make sure they book the jab to give their children the best possible protection.”

Kazeem Reaves Odunsi, assistant service manager for the vaccination programme, at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “The vaccine centre is very child friendly and suitable for children and young people who are vulnerable and have additional needs. Our vaccinators are highly trained and know how to make children feel as comfortable as possible. I really enjoy helping children feel at ease. Building trust is very important so I spend time playing or doing activities with them like drawing.

“It’s extremely inspiring seeing how happy the families are once they have had their jab. Some families had to put their lives on hold during the pandemic and having the vaccine means they can live their lives more freely again.”

How to get a vaccine

Parents and carers of children who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination should receive a letter either from the NHS or GP, inviting their child to take up the offer of a vaccine.

If parents have not received the letter and think their child is eligible, they can check their eligibility on the gov.uk website or email CovidVaccineBookings@gstt.nhs.uk 

Children at serious risk from the complications of COVID-19 include those with:

  • severe neurodisabilities
  • immunosuppression – those whose immune systems don’t work as well and those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed
  • profound and multiple or severe learning disabilities
  • being on the learning disability register
  • those with Down’s syndrome
  • those with long-term serious conditions affecting their body

Children will be given a low-dose version of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which has been deemed both safe and effective for their age group.

Evelina London’s vaccine centre is at St Thomas’ Hospital, which is co-located with Evelina London Children’s Hospital and part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

To book an appointment email CovidVaccineBookings@gstt.nhs.uk or walk-in at St Thomas' Hospital. For walk-in appointments, head to the main entrance at St Thomas’ Hospital and follow the signs for the Evelina London vaccination centre.