Hundreds of thousands of Covid vaccination slots are now available for children, with a senior doctor encouraging parents to book.

At the moment bookings are available in around 300 centres, with multiple slots also available at many walk-in centres.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS vaccine programme, said: “I know how much disruption Covid has caused for so many families over the past two years, affecting young people’s lives and education.

“Getting vaccinated protects them, their family and their friends, letting them stay at school and continue socialising.

“The vaccine is safe and effective – my 13-year-old son had his first vaccination when I had my booster at our local pharmacy and it gave us both reassurance that he was protected as well, and he has recently topped up his protection with a second dose.

“Young people can get their life-saving protection at a walk-in site or wait to get vaccinated at school, but the best way to make sure it happens quickly and conveniently is to book online now.”

More than 1.4 million young people aged 12 to 15 have had their first dose since September.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Keeping children in school is so important for their education, health and wellbeing.

Vaccines will protect young people from Omicron, help to keep schools open and protect their friends and families.

“Many young people can get their first or second dose at school, at walk-in sites or parents can book one of the half a million vaccination appointments up for grabs across the country this month.”