Vaccination forms part of our risk assessment to minimise the COVID risks as much as possible, both to the young people and their families and the Trust team (skippers, volunteers, staff) involved in our trips.
The Trust was able to run a successful summer of trips in 2021 due to the COVID-safety measures we put in place, and we were delighted there weren't any COVID cases linked to a trip among young people, volunteers, skippers, or our staff.
But whereas we ran at reduced capacity in 2021, with 315 young people coming on a trip, in 2022 we hope to return to pre-pandemic numbers of 600+ young people safely joining the Trust. This is the right thing to do to support more young people after cancer treatment, but it increases the risk of possible COVID transmission among a wider group of people.
Vaccination forms part of our risk assessment to minimise the COVID risks as much as possible, both to the young people and their families and the Trust team (skippers, volunteers, staff) who will be involved in the trips.
We need to find the appropriate balance between young people being able to get the support they need while keeping everyone as safe as possible.
We will keep reviewing our position in line with Government and independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice, and with our medical advisers. Please understand this advice can change at short-notice, and we will provide an update as soon as possible if our position changes in line with any new guidance.
IMPORTANT: Where it says ‘fully vaccinated’ below, this is in line with whatever the official Government advice is at that time for each age-group (links are provided). Fully vaccinated also means 14 days have passed since your final dose of an approved vaccine. If you were vaccinated outside of the UK, we would accept the approved vaccines in line with the current travel guidance.
There might be occasional circumstances whereby you are not able to have the next dose of vaccination you are due by the time of your trip. This could include because of when your birthday falls and/or if you have had COVID within the past three months, if you’re under 18, or one month if you’re 18 and over. If this affects you, please contact [email protected] and we will be happy to talk to you about your situation.
18 and overs (including trip volunteers and skippers)
We are asking everyone to be fully vaccinated by the time of their trip (unless medically exempt). Most approved vaccines require two doses, but if you had the single-dose Janssen vaccine please let us know. PLEASE NOTE: The Government definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ does not currently include a booster jab. If, and when, this advice is updated our position will reflect this.
16-17 year olds
We are following JCVI guidance for 16-17 year olds, and require all 16 and 17 year olds to be fully vaccinated by the time of their trip (unless medically exempt). JCVI advice is that “a second dose helps to improve protection (against COVID) in the longer term.”
In response to the Omicron variant, on 23 December government accepted the JCVI’s advice to extend the booster vaccinations to all those 16+. These are now available, when 16- and 17-year-olds reach 3 months since their second dose. Young people are encouraged to have their booster when invited.
PLEASE NOTE: The Government definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ does not currently include a booster. If, and when, this advice is updated our position will reflect this.
12-15 year olds
The initial decision to offer vaccinations to this age-group followed a recommendation from the Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), who advised that “the additional likely benefits of reducing educational disruption, and the consequent reduction in public health harm from educational disruption, on balance provide sufficient extra advantage.”
In an urgent review of the UK’s vaccine response measures following the emergence of the Omicron variant, in late November, JCVI announced a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 years is now recommended.
We also encourage anyone aged 12-15, who is eligible* for a third primary dose or booster, to take up the invitation. A booster is currently not required for 12–15-year-olds to join a Trust trip in 2022. We will keep this under review in line with Government advice and will communicate any changes to our hospital partners and families/young people as soon as possible.
*a young person aged 12-15 who is in a clinical risk group or who is a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed; OR is severely immunosuppressed and who has had a third primary dose.
In February 2022, the Welsh (15 February) and English and Scottish (16 February) governments announced they will be offering the vaccine to children aged 5-11. These vaccinations will be rolled out on a non-urgent basis from April.
In line with this advice, we will be requiring all young people aged 8-11 at the time of their trip to have had their first vaccination (unless medically exempt). We will be communicating this directly with our hospital partners and families/young people. If you have any problems getting a first vaccination please let us know.
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact the team at [email protected]
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