Coronavirus Vaccine

Vaccination of children and young people (age 12-15 and to 16-17 years)

All young people aged 16 and 17 and some 12- to 15-year-olds (see criteria below) are now eligible for Covid-19 vaccination. They are encouraged to come forward for vaccination as soon as they are invited – this will likely be by letter or a phone call from the GP practice the patient is registered with.

Vaccinating this group as soon as possible is important, ideally before return to schools and colleges and prior to autumn / winter.

Please don’t call your GP surgery / local doctor about this as we need to keep the phone lines free to help patients requiring appointments and urgent medical care. We will regularly update information on our web pages and social media channels so please keep checking back here.

Who is now eligible to be vaccinated

In line with guidance from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the following children and young people are now eligible for vaccination:

  • All young people aged 16 and 17 (single dose).
  • Some children aged 12 to 15 (two doses) who are:
    • At increased risk of serious illness from COVID infection. This includes children with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s Syndrome, underlying conditions that result in immunosuppression and/or profound and multiple learning disabilities or severe learning disabilities; or
    • Household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.

What vaccine will be used

Young people aged 16 and 17 will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. They will not need parental consent to access a vaccination.

The following groups of 16 and 17 year olds (who have been eligible for some time as priority groups) will be offered 2 doses of the vaccine in line with established guidance:

  • Those who are health and care workers. People working in CQC-registered care homes (including those aged 16-17) will need to be fully Covid-19 vaccinated with two doses by 11 November 2021, unless they have a medical exemption.
  • Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are described on the Gov.UK Guidance on Shielding: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.
  • Those who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality).
  • Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
  • Those who are within 3 months of their 18th

All other 16 and 17 year olds will currently be offered a single dose of the vaccine. Further guidance is expected to be issued regarding any future plans for second doses for this group. One dose of Pfizer reduces hospitalisation from Covid-related illness in this age group by around 80%.

Eligible children aged 12-15 (see 2a and 2b above) will be offered 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine, which is the only Covid-19 vaccine authorised for children (aged 12 and over) in the UK.

Where can vaccination take place

There are additional clinical and safeguarding requirements that vaccination sites must meet in order to vaccinate those aged 12-15 and 16-17. Not all of the places currently vaccinating adults will be able to vaccinate children and young people.

Currently there are two ways for 16 and 17 year olds and eligible 12-15 year olds to access a vaccine:

  • By invitation from their GP practice (please do not contact them, they will contact you)
  • From the seven walk in clinic sites listed below from 11 August (no appointment needed).

Walk in vaccinations for 16 and 17 year olds

From Wednesday 11 August, the following walk in (no appointment) vaccination sites will be offering single Pfizer vaccinations to those aged 16 and 17.

  • Norwich – Castle Quarter, 100 Castle Meadow, Norwich NR1 3DD
  • Dereham – Beetley Ward, Dereham Hospital, Northgate , Dereham NR19 2EX
  • Kings Lynn – Corn Exchange (up to and including 20 August) and Shakespeare Barn (from 23 August onwards)
  • King’s Lynn – The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gayton Rd, King’s Lynn PE30 4ET
  • Attleborough – Connaught Hall, Station Rd, Attleborough NR17 2AS
  • Great Yarmouth – Market Gates Shopping Centre, Great Yarmouth NR30 2BQ
  • Gorleston – Louise Hamilton Centre, James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston NR31 6LA

For a list of clinic dates and times at these sites please visit www.apps.norfolk.gov.uk/AllAvailableClinics.

Additional vaccination sites

The local NHS is working with its partners to identify additional vaccination locations that meet the clinical and safeguarding requirements for vaccinating children and young people.  As soon as these additional locations are confirmed they will be publicised on our website and social media channels.

Please don’t call your GP surgery / local doctor about this as we need to keep the phone lines free to help patients requiring appointments and urgent medical care.

Whilst we plan to start vaccinating children and young people before schools and colleges open in September, some vaccinations may take place in educational settings by roving immunisation teams during the autumn term.  We will update the information on our website as soon as plans are confirmed.

Background information

Other countries are already routinely vaccinating children over 12. The US has been doing so from May 2021, as well as some European countries (such as France and Italy) following approval from EU regulators. Other countries vaccinating children aged 12+ include Brazil, Japan, Israel and Hong Kong.

Although COVID-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in young people, it can be very unpleasant for some and, across the country, we have seen a number of severe cases of the virus in this group.

Further information on the vaccination of eligible children and young people will be available in due course.  The latest information will always be uploaded here on our website, and shared through our social media channels.