Should 12 to 15 year olds get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination is available to anyone over 12 years of age. Young people aged 12 to 15 years can get two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Why are we offering COVID-19 vaccination to 12 to 15 year olds?

When enough people get vaccinated, it’s harder for a disease to spread to those who can’t get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated protects you but also your family, friends, and community. It’s much safer for your immune system to learn to fight illness through vaccination than by catching a disease and treating it.

We want children and families to get this extra protection as quickly as possible. You can get vaccinated: 

If you have questions you can come to one of our vaccination sites and speak with our team. There is no pressure to get vaccinated if you visit a vaccination site and are still unsure.

Which vaccine will 12 to 15 year olds receive and how many doses? 

If you’re under 18, you’ll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Children and young people aged 12 to 15 can get two doses.

Is it safe for under 18s to have a COVID-19 vaccine and what are the side effects?

Research and data shows that the most common adverse effects following vaccination in children aged 12 to 17 years are injection site pain, fever and headache. These reactions are generally mild, self-limiting and short-lived, typically lasting 1 to 2 days.

Real-world data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in children is currently limited, but there have been extremely rare reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) following the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in millions of younger adults.

How is needle phobia managed?

Staff at vaccination sites are experienced and use practised methods to avoid anxiety and stress among young people. We allow enough time to manage needle phobia.

All parents, or those with parental responsibility, are asked for consent and will usually make this decision jointly with their children. An information leaflet is given to the child (as the recipient of the vaccine) and encourages them to discuss their decision with their parents. 

Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk with children about the vaccination. Staff at vaccination sites can answer questions, and will try to contact parents or guardians to get their verbal consent. 

Some young people have the capacity to give consent themselves. Our healthcare professionals are experienced and will assess whether someone has the understanding to make an informed decision. 

Webinars

You can find out more about vaccination by watching a webinar from your area.

We held a webinar in partnership with Merton council for local parents of 12 to 15 year olds. Attendees were able to ask local clinicians their questions and hear more about the programme.

We held a webinar for parents in Kingston and Richmond to find out more about the vaccine. This was in partnership with our local authority and advertised to all local parents of 12 to 15 year olds.

We held a webinar for parents in Sutton to find out more about the vaccine. This was in partnership with our local authority and advertised to all local parents of 12 to 15 year olds.

We recently a webinar for parents of 12-15 year olds in Croydon to find out more about the vaccine. This was in partnership with our local authority and advertised to all local parents of 12 to 15 year olds.

In partnership with Wandsworth council, we held a webinar for parents of 12 to 15 year olds. This was an opportunity for parents to ask questions and receive more information on the vaccine.