Any rollout of the jab to five to 11-year-olds would be done through the schools vaccination programme, with parents contacted to request their consent, as they currently are in the case of teenagers aged under 16.
In cases where a parent refused consent but a child indicated that they want a vaccine, healthcare staff would be expected to assess the individual’s capacity to understand the advantages and potential risks of accepting the jab.
A study by the Office of National Statistics has suggested that most parents would accept a jab for their child.
Some schools are currently the subject of aggressive “antivax” campaigns by protesters.
A source told The Sun that the plan to vaccinate children as young as five would be “controversial, but will help us reach our goal”
“Top secret plans reveal what is at stake if we are to achieve a meaningful victory over Covid.
“Asking parents for permission to jab kids as young as five is in the schedule.”
An NHS spokesman said: “The NHS regularly plans for how it would operationalise opening vaccines to more people so it is ready to extend the jab quickly when and if any decision is recommended by the JCVI.”
Pfizer is currently seeking approval for its Covid jab to be used in five to 11-year-olds from the European regulator.
The MHRA has said “expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness” must be met before vaccines would be authorised for children in this age category.
A spokesperson said: “Extending the use of a Covid-19 vaccine to children aged five to 11 would only be authorised if the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness are met.
“As with children aged 12 and above, parents can be fully assured that for any potential authorisation in this age group, the safety of the children would be our top priority.”
Children aged 12 to 15 in the UK have been able to get a first Covid-19 vaccination since September.
The JCVI has not yet advised on second jabs for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds.
But in an update in recent days, experts advised that children aged 12 and over who have had a Covid-19 infection should not get a vaccine until 12 weeks later.
Deferring could help to reduce even further the “very, very small” risk of heart inflammation after vaccination, experts from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.