Ensuring children and young people age 12-15 get both doses of their COVID vaccine is an important priority for the NHS.
Not only will this help to keep young people healthy and well, making them less likely to miss school, but it will also help protect family members, reducing the spread to loved ones – some of whom may be clinically vulnerable to COVID.
Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, reminds us: “Most young people experience mild symptoms after a COVID infection, or have no symptoms at all, passing on the virus without knowing.
“As ever, this is a real risk for people who might get really sick because they have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable. There is also evidence that younger people can experience Long COVID, which causes more health issues and takes longer to recover from.
“The latest data shows infection rates in this age group remain high, so helping stop the spread is key to us all staying well this half term.”
Since October 2021, the School Immunisation Team in Bucks have been vaccinating children aged 12 to 15 in local schools through the existing service that provides other vaccines, such as flu.
For most healthy 12-15 year olds, the 2 doses are given a minimum of 12 weeks apart. So, if your child had their first jab in November, they are likely to get the next at another visit to their school in February.
The School Immunisation Team will continue these visits throughout the first part of this year and parents may receive notification in advance of this happening from schools.
However, for those children not in school during these vaccine visits or who have had COVID-19 and need to wait 12 weeks after symptoms started or after their positive test result, (a 4 week gap if they are assessed to be at high risk) there are other options:
- Use the www.nhs.uk/National Booking Service, or call 119. This will take them to local sites across the county such as community pharmacies, GPs and large vaccination centres.
- Most children and young people can also get vaccinated at one of many convenient local walk-in vaccination sites available. These clinics do not require an appointment or an NHS number and can be found at www.nhs.uk/grab-a-jab.
- Find out about all local clinics on offer via the Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s website here: www.buckinghamshireccg.nhs.uk and search ‘Local COVID-19 vaccination updates’
Not every walk-in site can vaccinate 12-15 year olds, but the website shows which ones do, and more sites are added regularly.
For a small proportion of 12 to 15 year-olds, the options are different:
- Those who are more at risk from the virus or who live with someone who has a severely weakened immune system can get their second dose eight weeks after their first, and a further ‘booster’ dose from three months (91 days) after their second.
- Those who have had a severely weakened immune system can get a third primary dose from eight weeks after their second dose, then receive a booster from three months (91 days) later.