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Covid-19: vaccine uptake among children aged 5 to 11 varies widely across UK - how your area compares

Find out what proportion of children aged five to 11 have been vaccinated against coronavirus in your local area.

<p>The vaccination programme for children aged five to 11 began earlier this spring in all four nations.</p>

The vaccination programme for children aged five to 11 began earlier this spring in all four nations.

Scotland has so far vaccinated seven times more primary-age children against Covid-19 than Northern Ireland, despite having started its programme later, NationalWorld can reveal.

It is just one example of how parents across the UK seem to be showing hugely varying attitudes towards immunising their children against coronavirus.

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The vaccination programme for children aged five to 11 began earlier this spring in all four nations.

But the number of children to have received one dose currently stands at just over 2% in Northern Ireland, compared with 5% in England, 9% in Wales and 16% in Scotland.

Public health messaging has been far more muted than with the adult vaccination programme. The virus usually has a mild effect in children and NHS England said vaccination is a “personal choice” for families to make.

How do the four nations differ?

Figures published by Public Health Scotland show almost 68,000 children aged five to 11 were vaccinated with one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in Scotland as of 28 April, representing 16% of the population this age. Bookings have been open in Scotland since 19 March.

Vaccine data for elsewhere in the UK show a stark contrast.

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Figures sent to NationalWorld by the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland reveal 4,325 five- to 11-year-olds were vaccinated as of 3 May, representing just 2% of the population in this age group. Vaccinations have been open since 2 March.

The vaccination rate is marginally higher in England where vaccinations have been open since 4 April. NHS England data shows just over 242,400 children were vaccinated as of 24 April, representing 5% of the age group.

And data from Public Health Wales shows more than 21,400 children aged 5 to 11 had been jagged as of 27 April, representing 9% of the age group. Vaccination has been open since 15 March.

Low take-up rates may be linked to vaccine hesitancy. Earlier this year the Office for National Statistics found that parents living with children under five were more likely to be vaccine hesitant than non-parents or parents not living with a dependent child.

Vaccine hesitancy was also found to be more common in more deprived areas and among people with a Black or minority ethnic background.

Many children have also already had Covid-19 - around 85% were thought to have had the virus by the end of January, according to estimates by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

What is being done to encourage uptake?

Rachel Spiers, Immunisation and Vaccination Programme Manager at the Public Health Agency, said there are several possible reasons for the lower vaccination rate in children.

Ms Spiers said: “For example, parents of children who have already had Covid-19 may feel that their children don’t need the vaccine. However, vaccination is one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill-health.

“Even if your child has already had Covid-19, it is still important to get them vaccinated, as being fully-vaccinated can offer them the best protection from the virus and severe disease,  as we have seen that it can be possible to develop Covid-19 more than once.”

A spokesperson for NHS England added: “Getting vaccinated is a personal choice between families and their children, and we have now sent invites to everyone eligible, including to the parents of one million children aged 5 and 6 last week – with people able to book an appointment via the National Booking System.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “To encourage uptake, we have produced a number of resources including a leaflet providing key information and for parents and carers and a marketing campaign across radio and digital channels giving tailored information about vaccines for children.”

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “We are encouraging all parents and children to access up-to-date and factual information from trusted sources before discussing and making a decision about whether to accept the offer of vaccination.

“Getting vaccinated is a safe and effective way to protect against serious illness and hospitalisation from Covid-19.”

Most and least vaccinated areas of England

Redcar and Cleveland has vaccinated the lowest percentage of children in England with just 2% (196 children) being vaccinated against the disease. In total, 196 doses have been administered.

The North East council is not alone in having low vaccination rates. In total, 138 councils across England have vaccinated less than 5% of primary-age children.

Cheltenham has vaccinated the greatest proportion of the age group, with 13% (1,249 children) protected against the virus.

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In relation to the total number of vaccinations given, Wiltshire has administered the greatest number of doses, having jagged 3,262 in total, followed by Birmingham with 3,231.

The City of London on the other hand has administered just 24 doses, while Barrow-in-Furness has given out 106, followed by Copeland with 135.

You can find out how many children are vaccinated in your local area by using our interactive map below.

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NHS England figures for under 12s include vaccinations of people where the age is unknown so the figures are estimates.

Most and least vaccinated areas of Scotland

Data for Scotland shows East Dunbartonshire has the highest vaccination rates in Scotland with 24% of children vaccinated with one dose. In total 2,149 doses have been administered.

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This is followed by East Renfrewshire which has vaccinated 23% of children aged 5 to 11 and then Scottish Borders with 20%.

Not all councils in Scotland have such a high vaccination rate though. The Highlands has vaccinated just 4% of children while 7% are jagged in Argyll and Bute.

The interactive map below shows how vaccination rates vary across the country.

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Most and least vaccinated areas of Wales

Data for Wales also shows wide geographical differences.

Merthyr Tydfil has vaccinated the greatest proportion of children aged five to 11, having jagged 996 or 19% of the population. This is followed by Bridgend which has vaccinated 18% of children in the age group and Rhondda Cynon Taf which has vaccinated 15%.

Neath Port Talbot, Swansea and Powys have all vaccinated 2% of children aged 5 to 11.

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There is no local breakdown in vaccination figures for Northern Ireland.