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All children aged 12 to 15 years are being offered two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, following advice from the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) to the government. Some children are also being offered a booster jab. 

Facts on the COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds

As the vaccination programme for 12–15-year-olds continues, Lydia Roebuck, the Chair of the Richmond and Kingston Youth Council and the Member of Youth Parliament for Richmond, has interviewed the lead nurse for the rollout – Nic Kane. Lydia quizzes Nic on why younger people are being invited to have the vaccine, the benefits, the side effects, and information on the consent process.

Note: this video was filmed when only one jab was being offered to 12 to 15 year olds. The guidance has now changed and this age group are now being offered two doses.

Watch the interview:

We also held a virtual Q&A with local NHS experts answering your questions on the rollout. Watch the video of this event:

Also, hear from Dr Patrick Gibson in our podcast Vaccinating Teenagers.

Why vaccinations are being offered

Very few healthy children and young people with COVID-19 go on to have severe disease, but offering vaccination to 12 to 15 year olds should help to reduce the risk of complications, reduce time out of education, and reduce the spread of COVID-19 within schools.

Children will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is the vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for children and young people over 12 years of age. This follows a thorough review of the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccine in this age group.

Can 12-15 year olds have the booster jab?

Some children aged 12 to 15 are eligible for a booster dose if either:

  • They live with someone who has a weakened immune system (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

For more information see booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine (NHS)

Coordinating the vaccine programme

Over the past few months the NHS worked with local secondary schools on the rollout of the programme, visiting schools to give children the jab, following consent being sought from parents, guardians and carers. Children who are not yet vaccinated, or are eligible for a second dose, can now book an appointment via their GP or on the NHS booking service.

How the consent process works

All parents or those with parental responsibility are asked for consent and will usually make this decision, jointly with their children.

Can parents refuse to have their child vaccinated?

Yes. The vaccination is not mandatory. Parents will be asked to give their consent for the vaccination. Children may express a wish to have the vaccine and may have the capacity to provide informed consent themselves.

Parents should be encouraged to speak to their children ahead of time so that there is agreement on consent by the vaccination session.

Can a healthy 12 to 15 year old use a COVID-19 walk-in vaccination site?

Yes – some sites are offering the vaccine to children aged 12-15 years old. Please check before you visit.

Find your nearest walk-in and pop up vaccination clinics

Further information

Updated: 25 January 2022

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