FAQs: Vaccinating children and young people

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Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and volunteers, more than half a million healthy young people aged 16-17.75 years have already had their first dose of the vaccine. Last month more than one million texts and letters were sent to 16-17.75 year olds, inviting them to grab a jab at their nearest walk-in centre via the site finder. Vaccinating this age group continues to be a real focus over the coming weeks.

Should young people who are nearly 17.75 years old wait and book two vaccines on NBS?

No, young people who are not yet 17.75 should go ahead and get their single dose vaccine and not wait until they can book two doses on NBS. It is better to get a single dose of the vaccine sooner rather than wait. The latest JCVI guidance states that: we can be confident that young people will be afforded around 80 per cent protection against hospitalisation following receipt of their first dose. It is expected that protection will probably be even higher as younger people respond better to vaccines and some will have already had the COVID-19 infection, meaning they will have an even better response to a first dose.

Are we likely to be providing a second COVID-19 vaccine to 16-17.75 year olds?

Currently JCVI advice on the vaccination of young people aged 16 and 17 years states it is likely that: when the second dose is offered, this will be from 12 weeks after the first dose. The benefit of having an 8 to 12 week gap between the first and second doses is becoming increasingly clear, as it offers more protection for a longer period of time.

The aim is for the second dose to be given later and this will extend protection for a longer period, for example when those young people start work or go to university, or if we begin to get another wave of cases in winter.

As soon as advice on second doses for this age group is confirmed by the JCVI it will be shared with local systems. The NHS has been working hard to be ready for updates like this so it will be ready to deliver any new recommendations quickly.

(NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit)

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