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Advice for children and young people

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Who is eligble for the COVID-19 vaccine?

A  full list of who can get vaccinated is available on the NHS website. It includes the following children and young people:

16 and 17 year olds

Young people aged 16 and 17 can now get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination - they can walk-in to a local vaccine site. All vaccine sites and who can attend are listed on this page. Parental consent will not be required to be vaccinated.

12 to 15 year olds

All children aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, following advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) [Young people aged 12 to 15 to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)].

They will primarily receive their vaccination in their school with alternative provision for those who are home schooled, in secure services or specialist mental health settings.

Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes.

12-15-year olds 'at risk' with underlying health conditions may be eligible for two or three doses of the Pfizer vaccine. These include those with:

  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Severe neuro-disabilities
  • Underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression OR Children aged 12 years and older without underlying medical conditions who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.
  • Those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register.

If your child is aged 12 to 15 and is in one of the eligible ‘at risk’ groups, you be will contacted to invite you to book appointments for them for the vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination programme for young people: guidance for parents: COVID-19 vaccination programme for young people: guidance for parents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Which COVID-19 vaccine will my child receive?

The Pfizer BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine.

How will the COVID-19 vaccine be given to my child?

The COVID-19 vaccine is an intramuscular injection that will be given in the left or right upper arm.

Can the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations be given together?

The covid and flu vaccination can be given at the same time (co-administered, flu vaccine as a nasal spray or injection and COVID-19 vaccine as an injection). It is safe to do this. In Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin we are not delivering the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same to children and young people for planning reasons.

We will be managing the covid vaccination programme separately to the flu vaccination programme. The consent processes will be managed separately and any parent that has offered consent to-date for the flu vaccination can be assured that this consent is not applicable nor will be used to vaccinate their child/ children with the covid vaccine. Parents, guardians or carers will contacted for consent for their child to receive the covid vaccine.

How will I know which vaccinations are going to be given?

The information we ask your child’s school to send you tells you which vaccinations are taking place. This year, the national flu programme has been extended and is being offered to all pupils up to and including year 11. The COVID-19 vaccination programme is being offered to all 12-15 year olds.

How will I know when my child’s vaccination will take place?

The School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS) team sends information to your child’s school for them to forward onto you, on our behalf. Details include the date we’ll be visiting your child’s school and which vaccinations we will be administering.

There will also be information about the vaccinations and a link to complete a consent form. Please print the consent form and return completed to your school. If you have any problems printing the consent form please speak to your school for support. The consent form needs to be returned to school 2 days prior to vaccination date.

Will I have to consent for my child to have the vaccinations or will it just be given?

The vaccination will only be given to your child (aged 12 to 15) with parent/guardian consent. In the information we send to you via the school, we ask you to tell us whether you do or don’t want your child to be vaccinated.

We’ll be asking you to consent (or not) for the COVID-19 vaccine or the flu vaccine on separate consent forms. You’ll be sent two links via school or two paper consent forms for you to complete and return to school.

My child was off sick when the vaccines were given in school, how do I get my child a COVID-19 vaccine now?

If your child is unable to get vaccinated during the school schedule as planned, the school will provide a slip to the family with a number to call to book an appointment at a local venue.

What should I do if my child is ill after the vaccine – do they still go to school?

If your child has a sore arm or any of the usual mild symptoms, they should still attend school. If you’re worried about any symptoms your child may have, please refer to the information your child brings home or call NHS 111.

I want my child to have the vaccine but they’re afraid of needles – can I take them to the GP?

Most young people want to be vaccinated with their school friends and classmates. The SAIS team delivers vaccines to thousands of children and young people every year. They are very skilled and supportive of children who are worried or scared. Please tell us if your child is concerned about needles when you complete the form so we can look after them in school.

My child has recently had COVID-19 – can they have the vaccine?

If your child has had COVID-19 more than 28 days before the vaccination then they can have the vaccine. If they are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when the SAIS visit the school, they will be offered an alternative appointment

I am a foster carer – can I consent to the vaccine for the child I care for?

The consent for a child or young person to receive a vaccine needs to be from someone who has delegated authority to give permissions for immunisations. If you don’t have this, you’ll need to speak with the child’s social worker to arrange this.

Will you still vaccinate my child for COVID-19 if I as a parent say no?

No. If you indicate on the form that you don’t want your child to be COVID-19 vaccinated, we won’t vaccinate your child.

It is important that you discuss the vaccination with your child beforehand to avoid any problems and that you complete the consent form indicating your decision. There is the option for children and young people to consent for themselves using a strong legal framework, but this is not being used in these sessions. If on the day a young person says they would like to be vaccinated, we do try and contact the parents whilst we are at the school to discuss this further.

There will be opportunity for a second offer but this has not yet been planned and will only happen once the first offers have been completed.

Where do the vaccinations take place?

COVID-19 vaccinations take place at school and within the normal school day. 

I want my child to have the flu vaccine but not COVID-19 – can I do this?

Yes. When you receive the information we send you via the school, please complete consent forms indicating your choice. The COVID-19 and flu programmes are separate, and individual consent is required for each.

I have a child who is in this age group but is immunosuppressed [or clinically extremely vulnerable] – can they get a COVID vaccine with the other 12-15s on the day?

At-risk children aged 12 to 15 who are at increased risk of infection from COVID-19, or living with someone at risk, can receive their first dose of the vaccine in school. However, their second dose (due at least 8 weeks after their first dose) cannot be administered in school by the immunisation team. Second dose appointments will need to be booked or will be given by a direct invitation from their GP or healthcare professional.

For further information: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-vaccination-children-young-people.

One of my children is 16 and eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Can he join with the younger children to get vaccinated as well?

Children aged 16 in Year 11 do not need parental consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and can either get vaccinated in school, college or by visiting a local walk-in clinic. You can find details of your nearest walk-in clinics here. More clinics are added daily so do please keep checking back.

Can my 11-year-old have the vaccine?

No, the vaccine can only be given to children and young people aged 12 and over. 

Where can I find more information about the COVID-19 vaccination?

For more details visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-children-and-young-people

Where can I find more information about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine? 

Please see the Product Information leaflet: http://www.hse.ie/covid19vaccinePIL     

Further information

Public Health England have more infomation about the vaccination programme for under 18s and also what to expect after you've had your jab

Further resources on COVID-19 vaccination for eligible children and young people are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-children-and-young-people

The link includes leaflets on:

  • COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for eligible children and young people aged 12 to 17 years
  • COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for eligible children and young people aged 16 to 17 years
  • Information for children and young people on what to expect after their COVID-19 vaccination
  • COVID-19 vaccination for at-risk children and young people aged 12 to 15 years (simple text)
  • Consent form

Additional resources for the COVID-19 vaccination schools programme - update leaflets and resources for schools, parents and children and young people aged 12 to 17 years