12-15-year-olds are now being offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine is safe and effective for people in this age group.
Healthy young people, who are not deemed high risk, are being offered two doses of the Pfizer vaccine to help to protect them against COVID-19.
In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the main two ways young people will be offered the vaccine are through:
- The school age immunisation service, who are vaccinating eligible young people in schools
- At vaccination clinics
- At their local GP or pharmacy.
Why children are being offered a COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 is usually mild in most children, but it can make some children seriously unwell. One dose of a COVID-19 vaccine gives good protection against your child getting seriously ill. Two doses gives stronger and longer-lasting protection.
Vaccinating children can also help stop the spread of COVID-19 to other people, including family, friends and loved ones. It will also help to prevent the spread of the virus within schools, therefore helping to reduce disruption to children’s education.
More information about the programme for parents can be found on gov.uk
WATCH: Dr Wadhwa explains the benefits of getting young people vaccinated:
WATCH: Dr Wadhwa explains in Hindi the benefits of getting young people vaccinated and explains the side-effects:
You can also find out more by reading an information leaflet for parents, available in the following languages:
About COVID-19 vaccinations at school
COVID-19 vaccinations in school will be led by the school age immunisation service (sometimes known as SAIS). They will visit schools twice in the academic year.
Parents should receive a consent form from their school to fill out before each vaccination session takes place. We encourage parents to discuss the vaccine with their child before filling out the form.
On the vaccination day, trained vaccinators will administer the vaccine. They will be able to discuss any questions or concerns with the young person at their appointment.
Read our parent Q&A guide to find out more about COVID-19 school vaccinations.
About vaccinations clinics
As well as the vaccine being offered at school, 12-15-year-olds can also get their vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Clinics are available to book through the National Booking Service and you can also view all COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Leicestershire on the LLR CCG website.
Parents and guardians are advised to attend the vaccination appointments with their children so consent can be obtained on the day, though consent can sometimes be obtained over Facetime or phone.
Information for young people
Information about COVID-19 for young people is available on the Health for Teens website.
You can also watch over COVID-19 animation on YouTube:
The is also more information in the COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for eligible children and young people aged 12 to 17 on the gov.uk website.
We understand that some young people find it difficult to have vaccinations due to a fear of needles. Please be reassured that all of our vaccinators are trained to deal with this and can make adaptations to ensure the young person feels as comfortable as possible. This may include having the vaccine in a quieter area. Please make sure the vaccinator is aware and they can work with you to have the vaccine.
You can also find some tips about how to cope with needle phobia by watching this video:
COVID-19 vaccine safety
Millions of children around the world have had a COVID-19 vaccine.
The independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children aged 12 to 15.
This followed an extensive review of the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccine in this age group.
Common side effects
Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.
Most side effects are mild and should only last 1 or 2 days, such as:
- a sore arm from the injection
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
- flu-like symptoms including shivering (chills)
Children should rest and you can give them paracetamol to help make them feel better.
Very rare side effects
There have been extremely rare reports of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) after COVID-19 vaccination. Most people who had this recovered following rest and simple treatments.
Go to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms within a few days of being vaccinated:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)
COVID-19 vaccine ingredients
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine does not contain egg or animal products.
Young people and children at high risk from COVID-19
Some children aged 12 to 15 are considered at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if either:
- they live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- they have a condition that means they’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
Conditions that mean they may be at high risk are:
- a severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy
- Down’s syndrome
- severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they’re on the learning disability register)
- a condition that means they’re more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer)
Those who are considered at high risk will be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery to arrange their appointments.