Young people aged 12 to 15 in England began receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in October 2021. This means that, for many of them, now is the time to get their all-important second dose.In most teenagers, COVID-19 is a mild illness, so for some families the decision of whether to have the vaccine hasn’t been as clear-cut as for other age groups. But if you’re wondering whether your teen should have the vaccine, or whether to bother with their second dose, we have five compelling reasons why you might want to say YES.
1 For their education
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on schooling. The effect on education was one of the key reasons why the UK’s Chief Medical Officers decided to extend the vaccine programme to this age group. As young people settle into their THIRD spring term under COVID, rolling out the vaccine could make a big difference in these important secondary school years, reducing the spread of the virus and cutting student and teacher absences and school closures.
2 To protect them from the effects of COVID – and long COVID
While COVID-19 is a mild disease in most young people, some will become ill with the virus and some will suffer the post-illness effects of long COVID. Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Merton Director of Public Health said: ”These effects can be debilitating for teenagers and also impact on their learning and ability to take part in out-of-school activities. While long COVID is a condition that generally affects older people, a study by University College London
found that one in seven children with symptomatic COVID had symptoms lasting more than 15 weeks, including headaches and tiredness. The protection from the vaccination is vital.”
3 To catch up with friends and family
For many people, the Omicron variant led to muted Christmas celebrations for the second year running. Getting fully jabbed means extra reassurance when visiting friends and family, especially grandparents or other vulnerable relatives.
4 To protect the community
The vaccine programme was also extended to this age group as part of an effort to control its spread within communities. Young people mixing in school – and out – can become spreaders of the virus. And while they may not become ill, their parents, grandparents and people they come into contact with might. All of this means more cases in the community having an impact on health and other vital services, especially during the winter months.
5 For your summer holiday
Whether you’re looking to travel abroad, catch up with friends and family or go to summer events and festivals, making sure your teenager is fully jabbed could make a big difference to your plans. Some countries such as Spain, Germany and Canada require proof of double vaccination by the over 12s for entry. If your teenager gets their jab this month, they will be able to have their second dose in April – in time for Easter. But bear in mind that if they catch COVID they will need to wait 12 weeks for either dose, potentially pushing the date when they are fully vaccinated into the summer months.
So, if you and your child have decided to have their first or second dose you have three options.
- Our vaccinations teams will be making return visits to some secondary schools this term offering first and second doses.
- Alternatively you can book now on the NHS national booking system
- Or visit one of our south west London walk-in centres.