AN 'ambitious' vaccination programme for students in Dorset schools has been paused due to staffing issues.

The school-based Covid vaccination programme for children aged between 12 and 15 at county schools was launched by Dorset Healthcare on September 24.

But the organisation has paused the programme, citing staff capacity issues - and said that vaccination sessions will begin again 'as soon as possible'.

The announcement comes as the NHS Confederation calls for a reintroduction of some Covid restrictions nationally to avoid a winter crisis, which could see the return of compulsory face masks, mandatory Covid passports, and advising people to work from home where possible - advice that has been dismissed by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng who said it was not time for Plan B yet and urged greater uptake of booster jabs.

Kate Harvey, service director at Dorset Healthcare, said: "Dorset launched the 12-15-year-olds school-based Covid-19 vaccination programme, alongside school-based vaccinations for flu on September24 . We’re grateful to the schools, parents and young people involved for their support so far.

"This ambitious programme is a significant undertaking, especially as it is running at the same time as the wider Covid-19 vaccinations programme, including boosters, and the flu vaccination programme. Unfortunately, due to staff capacity we have needed to pause vaccinations today.

"We aim to step up flu and Covid-19 vaccinations sessions again as soon as possible and will continue to work in a flexible way, adapting to the requirements of the programme.

"Schools are doing an amazing job of responding to this phase of the pandemic and it’s important that we continue to work together to ensure that the vaccine is available to all children aged 12-15."

This follows an announcement by Health Secretary Sajid Javid that England is ramping up jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds and that from half-term, this age group will be able to get vaccinated in vaccination clinics, as well as at school.

For more information about Dorset Healthcare's schools-based Covid-19 vaccination programme, visit