Children get creative at Centrale’s COVID-19 vaccination centre

Vaccinations of any kind can make children feel a little nervous, that’s why Croydon’s Centrale shopping centre has created a fun space for children to get their COVID-19 vaccine. With hopes to calm any nerves, Centrale’s dedicated vaccination centre has created an arts station where children can flex their creative skills and create artwork that will feature on the dedicated collage wall (below).

Located in the North End side of the shopping centre, children aged 5-11 can get their vaccination most days after school and at weekends (opening times), before receiving a certificate of bravery to mark the occasion. Walk-ins are welcome or parents can chose to pre-book an appointment using the  NHS booking system.

Centrale’s Matron, Bernhard Kristofoe said: “Our arts station has been brilliant at keeping kids entertained as they wait for their vaccination. The collage wall of all the drawings has really brightened up area and it’s been lovely to see kids’ faces light up with a smile when they get their stickers after their jab.”

Eight-year-old twins Mia and Joshua (above) visited for their vaccination with their dad and busied themselves with drawing whilst they waited. Mia proudly showed off her drawing and bravery certificate, and said that her vaccination: “didn’t hurt, and I feel fine now.”

After ten-year-old Joshua’s vaccination (pictured below with his dad), he shared his understanding that the vaccination would give him good protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19. He said: “I need to get it so I can keep playing my sports and doing what I love the best. If I get COVID I have to miss out.” Despite other parents choosing to vaccinate their children, some parents may still be deciding if the COVID-19 vaccine is right for their child and have some questions to help them make a decision.

With private spaces to talk through any queries, vaccination staff at Centrale are at hand to support families to make an informed choice, and to make things as easy as possible for those who decide to get it. In this video, Leona shared why she decided the vaccine was the best thing for her ten-year-old daughter, Hannah.

Croydon Pharmacist and Primary Care Development Lead, Dipti Gandhi said: “We strongly recommend that 5–11-year-old children are vaccinated to prevent serious illness from COVID-19. If you’re unsure about vaccinating your child don’t hesitate to come for a chat with clinical staff. If your child has additional needs, we’ve got extra support to make their experience as comfortable possible.”

Support for children with additional needs

Paediatrician and Academic Professor at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Russell Viner, said, “We recommend that 5–11-year-olds who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 get two doses of the vaccine. This includes children with Down syndrome, severe neurodisabilities and those who are immunosuppressed. Getting the vaccine means your child is less likely to get very ill from COVID-19.”

Take a look at our guide, to see how we can best support your trip to vaccination sites across south west London.

My child is autistic, will the vaccination clinic be able to accommodate them?

Sites allow more time for vaccinating children. If your child needs any reasonable adjustments at their vaccination appointment, please outline any requirements needed when booking their appointment. Once services are aware of any arrangements needed, they can make sure your child is supported.

My child has special educational needs, how can I be sure that they will be supported?

Our vaccination sites and staff are prepared to welcome young children. Our clinical staff have completed training to communicate and vaccinate children with special educational needs and disabilities and to make sure they feel safe and comfortable. Our teams also have access to social stories that parents and carers can use to prepare their child before the vaccine. 

If my child has more complex needs, where can they get vaccinated?

All sites vaccinating children will aim to help you and your child to meet their needs. If you feel that it would be helpful to have a chat with our vaccination team before attending your appointment, you can contact the vaccination hub helpline, who will be able support you.

Vaccination hub helpline, open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday: 02038800338.

Please note, normal call charges from your phone provider will apply.

If my child is nervous about being vaccinated, how will they be supported?

Staff vaccinating young people are experienced and will do all they can to avoid any anxiety and stress. They will allow enough time to manage things such as needle phobia. Simply tell the vaccination team of any phobias or worries your child may have, and they will do all they can to make them feel comfortable. As a parent or carer, please assure your child that everything will be OK.

Come for a chat

To have a chat with a friendly clinician and get your questions answered about vaccinations for 5–11-year-olds, you can pop in to any of our clinics across South West London – with no pressure to get the jab. You can also call: 0203 880033 – please note normal call charges may apply from your service provider. Take a look at this film to find out more.

Find the opening times for Centrale and all other vaccination clinics in south west London here.

Book your child’s vaccination here.