COVID-19 vaccinations for children
Coronaviruses - of which COVID-19 is one - are a large family of viruses with some causing less severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease, such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses. They are a different family of viruses to the influenza viruses that cause the seasonal flu.
COVID-19 presents with a range of symptoms of varying severity. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people have COVID-19 without displaying any symptoms.
The main symptoms include fever, a new and continuous cough, anosmia (loss of smell) and ageusia (loss of taste). Examples of other symptoms include, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, myalgia (muscle ache), sore throat, headache, nasal congestion (stuffy nose), runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
The COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your friends because it significantly reduces the risk of infection, hospitalisation and death.
COVID-19 national vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds
In line with government recommendations, all children aged 12 to 15 in England are being offered at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Children aged 12 to 17 who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable are being offered two doses of the Pfizer vaccine at least eight weeks apart.
Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes.
Healthy school-aged children aged 12 to 15 will primarily receive their COVID-19 vaccination in their school with alternative provision arranged as needed for those who are home schooled, in SEND schools, in secure services or specialist mental health settings.
COVID-19 vaccinations for 'at risk' 5-11 year olds
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that 5- to 11-year-olds with conditions that make them vulnerable, or who live with those who are immunosuppressed and at greater risk of getting ill from the virus, should have the COVID-19 vaccine. Having the vaccine makes your child less likely to get very ill from COVID-19. It will help to stop them from catching and passing on the virus. Having the vaccine will help protect your child and any vulnerable family members living with them.
National resources for parents, carers and young people
Please refer to the following national resources if you or your child have any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination for 12-15 year olds.
- NHS website on coronavirus
- UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) COVID-19 vaccination guide for children and young people
- Key questions on the children and young people’s COVID-19 vaccination programme Blog published by the UK Health Security Agency on 10 October 2021
- COVID-19 vaccination programme for young people: guidance for parents (includes FAQs including consent and where a child may wish to have the vaccine when a parent has refused consent)
- The Green Book of Immunisation contains more information on consent including Gillick competence
- Universal vaccination of children and young people aged 12 to 15 years against COVID-19 - GOV.UK
- Information produced by BBC Newsround
Two videos from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) explain the safety of the vaccine for young people in more detail.
- Click here to watch the first video from the DHSC explaining the safety of the vaccine for young people in more detail.
- Click here to watch the second video from the DHSC explaining the safety of the vaccine for young people in more detail.
For information from your regional health team, please refer to the following websites
Suffolk and North East Essex sneevaccine.org.uk/what-you-need-to-know/faqs/
Mid and South Essex - msehealthandcarepartnership.co.uk/
If parents or carers have further questions or concerns they can email or call us at the following numbers. Please be advised we are currently experiencing a high volume of queries but will try to respond as soon as possible:
|Cambridgeshire & Peterborough||0300 555 5055 Option firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Norfolk||0300 555 5055 Option email@example.com|
|Suffolk||0300 555 5055 Option firstname.lastname@example.org|