More than 45,000 secondary school aged children in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are to be offered the coronavirus vaccine.

England’s chief medical officers, led by professor Chris Whitty, have announced that the first vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds will be given in the coming days.

Children will need the consent of their parents to receive the jab which will be administered by teams from Virgin Care’s immunisation service team at all schools across the region.

Val Scrase, managing director, Virgin Care in BSW, said: “We already work with local schools to deliver the very successful school immunisation programme within schools safely and efficiently, and we’ll be contacting parents directly via their school in the coming days.

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“As with all vaccines, ensuring proper consent from parent and child is very important and so we’ll be continuing to use our tried-and-tested electronic consent system, allowing parents to make an informed decision confident in the knowledge our vaccination team has their decision available on the day and will act accordingly.”

Gill May, director of nursing and quality, said: “We have been expecting this announcement for some time and, in readiness, have been working closely with our colleagues at Virgin Care to plan this next phase of the vaccination programme.

“Virgin will visit all schools across the region over the coming weeks, and will work with both teaching staff and parents to ensure the process of offering the vaccine to as many eligible young people as possible is carried out in a safe and timely manner. Since December, more than 1.3m Covid-19 vaccines have been given out across our region, and we know that in doing so we have helped to save countless lives and reduce the spread of infection.”

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“Aside from offering protection against coronavirus, giving the vaccine to this age group will help to stop our young people’s time at school from being disrupted, which in turn will support long-term wellbeing and mental health.”