The COVID-19 vaccination program for children ages 12-15 has now started. Thousands of young people across the country have already taken the opportunity to get vaccinated. This blog answers key questions about the program.
Why do young people between the ages of 12 and 15 need to be vaccinated?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection is usually mild in most young people, but can be very uncomfortable for some, and one dose of the vaccine provides good protection against serious illness and hospitalization.
Vaccinating 12-15 year olds also helps reduce the need for school holidays for young people and the risk of spreading COVID-19 in schools. The vaccine will protect young people from COVID-19 and reduce educational disabilities, which is good for their well-being and mental health.
Why did the JCVI say that young people don’t need the vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) looked at the direct health benefits of vaccines and, in the case of 12-15 year olds, said there was little benefit for young people in receiving a dose of the vaccine.
The Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) considered the added health benefits of not missing out on children’s education, and concluded that there are public health reasons to recommend vaccination for 12-15 year olds . The UK CMO Council sets out their reasoning Here.
My child has already had COVID-19 – should they still be vaccinated?
Yes, they should be vaccinated whether or not they have already had COVID-19 infection because:
- Research hasn’t shown how long people who have had COVID-19 are protected from getting it again after they recover
- The vaccination will help increase your protection, even if you have already had COVID-19
Has the vaccine been given to 12 to 15 year olds in any other country?
Studies of thousands of children have shown that the vaccine works very well in this age group. The vaccine has since been given to millions of 12-15 year olds in a number of countries, including 8 million in the United States. Data from these countries show that the vaccine has a good safety record.
Does the COVID-19 vaccination cause heart problems in young people?
Globally, very rare cases of heart inflammation known as myocarditis or pericarditis have been reported after COVID-19 vaccines. Most of these young people felt better after rest and simple treatments. These cases were seen mainly in younger men and occurred mainly within a few days of the second dose; it is extremely rare after the first dose of the vaccine.
Is the vaccine safe for children with allergies or other medical conditions?
There are very few children or adolescents who cannot get the vaccine. If in doubt, young people and their parents or carers should contact the school’s vaccination team or consult their general practitioner or specialist.
I saw fake stories about the vaccine on social media
You may have come across incorrect or misleading information about the virus or vaccine. It is important that you get your information from trustworthy sources, such as:
the Parents Guide for vaccination in schools.
This brochure for children and parents.
You can find more information here.
Thank You For Reading!