COVID-19 vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds

We are aware of the recent announcement on COVID-19 vaccination for some children under the age of 12, and will update these pages as soon as we have more information.

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Two doses are being offered to children aged 12 to 15 to give them the best possible protection against COVID-19.

All children aged 12 to 15 can now get a first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (including children who turn 12 on the date of vaccination). Most children can get a second dose from 12 weeks after they had their first dose. Children aged 12 to 15 who have a condition that means they are at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 can have their second dose from eight weeks after their first dose.

Most children can:

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15

You can find information and videos about the vaccine created for young people, by young people, on the Everything COVID website.

Parents and young people are being asked to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Please click here to view our frequently asked questions (FAQs) on vaccines for 12-15 year olds.

Which children are considered to be at high risk from COVID-19?

Some children aged 12 to 15 are considered at high risk from COVID-19 if either:

  • they live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • they have a condition that means they’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19

Conditions that mean they may be at high risk are:

  • a severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy
  • Down’s syndrome
  • severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they’re on the learning disability register)
  • a condition that means they’re more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer)

The second dose can be given from eight weeks after the first dose. Find out more about health conditions and eligibility.

How will my clinically vulnerable child get the vaccine?

Those who are considered at high risk will be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery to arrange their appointments. It will take place in a location that is convenient and practical for you to access, which could be a vaccination centre, a GP surgery, a pop-up clinic or a home visit for children who cannot leave their homes.

You can also:

You’ll get a letter reminding you to have your second dose around eight weeks after your first dose.

You can take this letter to any walk-in vaccination site from eight weeks after you had your first dose.

If you do not receive this letter but you think you’re eligible, contact your GP surgery.

My child is younger than 12 but is clinically extremely vulnerable. Will younger children be offered the vaccine in the future?

We are aware of the recent announcement on COVID-19 vaccination for some children under the age of 12, and will update these pages as soon as we have more information.

When can clinically vulnerable children get their second dose?

Clinically vulnerable children aged 12 to 17 can get their second dose eight weeks after their first dose.

How do we know the vaccine is safe for children?

The Pfizer vaccine has been authorised for use in people aged 12 years and over in the UK. This follows evidence from a clinical trial where around 1,000 children aged 12 to 15 years received two doses of the vaccine.

The UK has also benefited from having data from the US, Canada and Israel, which have already offered vaccines universally to young people aged 12 to 15 years.

These two videos from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) explain this in more detail: how do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe? and Dr Alex Bowmer explains how we know that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe

After vaccination, short-lived mild side effects including a sore arm and fever are common in this age group.

There have been extremely rare reports of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) after COVID-19 vaccination. Most people who had this recovered following rest and simple treatments. Go to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms within a few days of being vaccinated:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)

The MHRA publish weekly reports on side-effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

How were the vaccines developed so quickly?

All vaccines have had three stages of clinical trials and were tested on tens of thousands of people around the world. The trial phases were run in parallel, speeding up the overall time of vaccine production, but not the critical research time.

Since December 2020 the Pfizer vaccine has been given to millions of people in the UK and has an excellent safety record.

These two videos from DHSC explain this in more detail: how the COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly and safely and Dr Alex Bowmer explains how the COVID-19 vaccine was developed

Read the guidance for parents about COVID-19 vaccination of 12-15 year olds.

To find a vaccination site anywhere in England, visit the NHS COVID-19 vaccination search page.