Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced that children aged 12- to 15-years-old in England will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The rollout comes following advice from the four UK chief medical officers as well as the recommendation of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The government is preparing to deliver a schools-based vaccination programme, a ‘successful model’ which has been used for vaccination including HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP). It will also be supported by GPs and community pharmacies, with invitations to begin from next week.

“I have accepted the recommendation from the Chief Medical Officers to expand vaccination to those aged 12 to 15 - protecting young people from catching COVID-19, reducing transmission in schools and keeping pupils in the classroom,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.

“I am very grateful for the expert advice I have received from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and UK Chief Medical Officers.

“Our outstanding NHS stands ready to move forward with rolling out the vaccine to this group with the same sense of urgency we've had at every point in our vaccination programme,” he added.