Page last updated: 23 August, 2021, 10:39am
Vaccinating young people aged 16 and 17
In line with JCVI guidance, the NHS in inviting all young people aged 16 and 17 to receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.
More than 125,000 people in this age group have already had their jab in the two weeks since the announcement, with more than 360,000 having received it in total since the start of the vaccination programme.
Invitations are now landing on the doormats of all in this age group, who can find their nearest centre through the NHS’s ‘grab a jab’ online walk-in finder. Text messages are now also being sent.
At this time, JCVI advises that 16-17 year olds should be offered a first dose only, which will be of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The first dose has been shown to provide 80% protection against hospitalisation.
A second dose is expected to be offered later to increase the level of protection and contribute towards longer term protection, following further assurance around effectiveness and safety in this age group.
Those aged 16-17 who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 continue to be offered two doses of vaccine.
People aged 16-17 do not need to contact their local GP or other NHS services before they receive a letter or text with details of how to get the jab.
Booking a vaccine for those between 17 and 9 months and 18
Children who are within three months of turning 18 will be invited directly to book an appointment via the National Booking Service at the appropriate time and may also be invited via local vaccination services.
Booking a vaccine for those aged between 16 and 17 and 9 months
Those age 16 to 17 and 9 months will not be able to use the National Booking Service, although they can find a convenient walk-in site near to where they live at www.nhs.uk/grab-a-jab. Those in this age group will instead be invited by local vaccination services.
Parental consent is not required to be vaccinated. People also do not have to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to be vaccinated, although it will make the process easier so they should bring this if they can.
Those aged under 16
The following groups of children and young people are also eligible, following previous JCVI advice:
- 12-15-year olds ‘at risk’ with the underlying health conditions specified below:
- severe neuro-disabilities,
- Down’s Syndrome,
- underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and
- those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
- Children aged 12 years and older without underlying medical conditions who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.
Further information on the COVID vaccination for children and young people can be found on the Gov.uk website.
COVID-19 vaccination A guide for children and young people – a leaflet explains the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme for eligible children and young people.
Why is the NHS only vaccinating some children and young people against COVID-19, and not all?
The NHS vaccinates in line with guidance from the independent JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), which provides expert advice on vaccinations to UK health departments. The JCVI recommends that only certain groups of children and young people are vaccinated because of a combination of factors including their risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, passing it to others who may become seriously ill, and evidence of safety and effectiveness.
How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child?
The JCVI has reviewed extensive clinical evidence for the safety of giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people in the eligible groups and have determined it to be safe and effective. The JCVI has determined that the benefit of vaccinating children in these groups outweighs the risks.
My child is not in one of the eligible groups. When will they be able to be vaccinated?
There are no current plans to vaccinate children and young people outside of the eligible groups. However, the JCVI is continually reviewing evidence on this matter and will advise the Government if it decides that a change of approach is required.