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, provided by the NHS locally, why you might want to say YES.
1 For their education
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on schooling, with the effect on education 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. Read more in 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.
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 this spring – 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.
- The NHS vaccination 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