BLACKBURN with Darwen's public health director has underlined the safety of the coronavirus jab being offered to 12 to 15-year-olds.

Professor Dominic Harrison has expressed full confidence in the June approval by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group.

He said: "I want to reassure parents and carers that the roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds has been judged as safe and effective – not just in the UK but in most other European countries and North America, who are now well ahead of us in offering Covid vaccine protection to over 12s.

"With 23 per cent of Blackburn with Darwen residents under the age of 16 years – the eighth youngest population in all areas of England – our residents risk having collectively less immunity protection from the Covid vaccine as we head into autumn and winter if we do not get our 12 to 15-year-olds protected through vaccination.

"I recognise that some parents and carers may worry about giving consent for their children to be vaccinated.

"Whilst I would urge them to give that consent, I need to stress that this vaccination is not mandatory, and no child will be vaccinated in schools without consent."

Secondary schools across Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire have started to roll out Covid vaccines to 12 to 15-year-olds.