COVID-19 vaccinations for children

About COVID-19

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 8 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.

Please read our FAQs for parents and carers here.

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.

You can read more information, including eligibility, which vaccine will be offered and the process of getting your child vaccinated, in this FAQ.

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. 

Two videos from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) explain the safety of the vaccine for young people in more detail

Regional resources

For information from your regional health team, please refer to the following websites

Hertfordshire: covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/vaccine-information-for-young-people
Norfolk: norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid/coronavirus
Suffolk and North East Essex sneevaccine.org.uk/what-you-need-to-know/faqs/
Mid and South Essex - msehealthandcarepartnership.co.uk/

Contact us

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:

Hertfordshire 01727 732062 hct.immsenquiries@nhs.net
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough 0300 555 5055 Option 1 hct.csaiscambspb@nhs.net
Norfolk 0300 555 5055 Option 2 hct.csaisnorfolk@nhs.net
Suffolk 0300 555 5055 Option 3 hct.csaissuffolk@nhs.net