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Eligible . . . Anna Beckingsale wanted her daughter, Lucy (8), to be vaccinated before the school year started.

Another step has been added to the back-to-school routine.

Last week, children aged 5-11 became eligible to be immunised against Covid-19.

Although the Government advertised vaccines for children would start on January 17, supplies had not been readily available to medical practices in Oamaru.

Central Medical general practitioner Jon Scott his practice did not get supplies until Thursday last week.

Dr Scott said a lot of people had been inquiring about the vaccines, and many had been frustrated by the delay.

Central Medical would dedicate an hour a day to the children’s vaccinations, which were a third of the adult dose.

For parents who may be cautious about vaccinating their children, Dr Scott assured them that, although like every vaccine it carried a very small risk, it was outweighed by a very big benefit.

‘‘There is a misconception that children don’t get ill with [Covid-19].’’

Pediatricians across the world had observed the effects of Covid-19 on children, including Multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which could also affect adults, he said.

The vaccine helped reduce the spread of the virus, particularly in schools which had been a site of transmission, Dr Scott said.

‘‘We are encouraging 5-11-year-olds to get vaccinated, because that’s another vector of transmission of [Covid-19],’’ he said.

‘‘The Omicron variant is incredibly infectious.

‘‘The more people within the community who have antibodies, the smaller the impact the epidemic will have on all of us.’’

North End Health Centre practice manager Sreeja Surej said the centre started its children’s vaccinations last Thursday, also because of a delay in receiving supplies.

But the vaccinations had gone very well since they started administering them last week.

The centre was doing 10 a day, between 9am and 10.30am.

As the new school year approached, the centre’s staff expected demand for the children’s vaccinations to be high.

Anna Beckingsale’s children, Lucy (8) and Jack (6), were vaccinated at the North End practice on Monday morning in preparation for the start of the school year.

Mrs Beckingsale said it was important in minimising the risk for their family and the community.

Oamaru Doctors practice manager Marie Robins said there had been a ‘‘huge demand’’ for the children’s vaccine, and the practice had experienced a similar delay in receiving supplies.

As a result, the practice’s children’s vaccination clinic would start today, and it was already fully booked, Mrs Robins said.

Subsequent children’s vaccination clinics would be held on Friday afternoons, by appointment only.

Whitestone Family Practice practice manager Sandra Isteed said the centre was providing children’s vaccinations to those already registered with the practice.

A Southern DHB spokeswoman said the rollout of children’s vaccinations across the Southern district was phased to allow providers to increase their capacity in delivering both 5-11-year old and booster vaccinations.

She claimed there had not been any issues regarding delayed deliveries.

‘‘Vaccine deliveries are made to clinics based on the number of 5-11-year-old vaccinations a clinic determines that they can safely provide.’’