Dr Helen Horton, a GP in west Cumbria, offers some advice for parents about vaccinating children against COVID-19.

She said: “Children aged 5-11 can now receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

“For parents, priority is the health of their children and by having the COVID-19 vaccine, parents will be protecting children against serious infection and long covid.

“It is best to book an appointment ahead of time to make sure you are attending a venue that is able to vaccinate your child.”

Parents and guardians can book appointments at some vaccination centres and community pharmacies. These appointments can be made online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119.

Dr Horton added: “Some GP vaccine services are offering appointments for children aged 5-11 but we encourage you please do not contact your GP practice unless you are invited to make an appointment.

“By making an appointment, you will help reduce the risk of children passing on the infection to others. It can be frightening as parents and guardians in situations like this, but we have pulled out all the stops to make the vaccinations as easy as possible for your children.

“Our vaccination centres have gone through additional checks and have staff who are experienced in vaccinating children. They offer a child-friendly atmosphere for families with young children and longer appointment times to help put children at ease.”

Not all of the locations are able to offer the vaccine to the 5-17 year old age groups, but suitable sessions can be checked on the national booking system under the walk-in sections. More information about vaccine sites can be found at: www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site