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Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for children aged 5 to 15

Why children are being offered the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 is usually mild in most children, but it can make some children unwell.

1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine gives good protection against your child getting seriously ill. But 2 doses gives stronger and longer-lasting protection against future COVID-19 variants.

Vaccinating children can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to your child and those around them.

When children will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine

Children can get a 1st dose of the vaccine from the day they turn 5.

Most children can get a 2nd dose from 12 weeks after they had their 1st dose.

If your child has a condition that means they're at high risk from COVID-19 or they live with someone who has a weakened immune system, they can get a 2nd dose from 8 weeks after they had their 1st dose.

If your child is aged 12 to 15 and at high risk from COVID-19, they can also get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they had a 2nd dose at least 3 months ago.

If your child is aged 5 or over and had a severely weakened immune system when they had their first 2 doses, they can get an additional primary dose (3rd dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Children aged 5 and over

Children who turned 5 on or after 1 September 2022 can only get a 1st and 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if they're either:

  • at high risk due to a health condition or because of a weakened immune system
  • living with someone who has a weakened immune system

If your child has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19

If your child has a confirmed COVID-19 infection and is not at high risk from COVID-19, they need to wait 12 weeks before they can have a COVID-19 vaccine.

If they are at high risk, or they live with someone who has a weakened immune system, they should wait 4 weeks.

This starts from the date their symptoms started or the date of their positive test result, whichever was earlier.

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, but has not had a test, they should wait until their symptoms are better before they get a COVID-19 vaccine. You can talk to a healthcare professional at the vaccination site about this.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. 2 doses are being offered to children aged 5 to 15 to give them the best protection against COVID-19.

How children can get the COVID-19 vaccine

Parents will get information offering them the chance to make an appointment for their child to be vaccinated.

Children aged 5 to 15 can:

  • book their vaccination appointments online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy
  • find a walk-in vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment
  • wait to be contacted by a local NHS service such as their GP surgery to arrange their appointments

Some children may still be offered a 1st and 2nd dose of the vaccine locally through their school until the end of April 2022.

If your child is at high risk from COVID-19

If your child has a condition that means they're at high risk from COVID-19 or they live with someone who has a weakened immune system they can:

Someone at the vaccination site will talk to you and check if your child is eligible.

It can help to bring a letter, text message or email from a GP or hospital specialist confirming that your child is eligible for an early 2nd dose or booster dose.

Information:

If you're not sure if your child is at high risk, see who is at high risk from COVID-19.

Booking vaccination appointments online

You can book your child's 1st dose online from the day they turn 5.

You can usually book their 2nd dose from 24 hours after they had their 1st dose.

You'll be offered appointment dates from 12 weeks after their 1st dose.

Getting the vaccine at a walk-in vaccination site

Your child can get a 1st dose at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site from the day they turn 5.

They can get a 2nd dose if it's been 12 weeks since their 1st dose, or 8 weeks if they're at high risk from COVID-19.

Which COVID-19 vaccine will children get?

Children will be given a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for their COVID-19 vaccination.

Children aged 5 to 11 (or 12 if they are in school Year 7) will be given smaller doses than older children and adults.

What happens after the vaccination

If your child has certain rare allergies or a history of anaphylaxis, they may be asked to stay for 15 minutes after having the vaccine. This is in the unlikely event they have a serious reaction to the vaccine.

If your child has allergies or had a reaction after a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, tell the staff at the vaccination centre or pharmacy before they are vaccinated.

Research has found it's very rare to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.

Staff at vaccination centres, pharmacies and schools are trained to deal with reactions and treat them immediately.

Find out more about:

Side effects and safety

The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

They can cause some side effects in children, but not everyone gets them.

Any side effects are usually mild and should only last 1 or 2 days, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • flu-like symptoms including shivering (chills)

More serious side effects, such as heart inflammation (myocarditis), are very rare.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccine side effects and safety for children

COVID-19 vaccine ingredients

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine does not contain egg or animal products.

Vaccine leaflets

More information

Page last reviewed: 9 September 2022
Next review due: 28 October 2022