Please see below the current information regarding covid-19 vaccinations and testing
To view the covid-19 vaccination letter from the headteacher click here
Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. 1 dose is being offered to children aged 12 to 15 to give them the best protection against COVID-19.
This includes children who turn 12 on the date of vaccination.
Some children are being offered 2 doses of a vaccine if either:
they live with someone who is more likely to get infections
they have a condition that means they're at high risk from COVID-19
Find out more about vaccination for children at high risk from COVID-19 on who can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Why children are being offered a COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 is usually mild in most children, but it can make some children unwell. 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine gives good protection against your child getting seriously ill.
Vaccinating children can also help stop the spread of COVID-19 to other people, including within schools.
How and when children will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine
Most children will be given their vaccine at school during school hours. They will be given 1 dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
As a parent or guardian you will get a letter or email with information about when the vaccine will be offered, and you'll be asked to give consent.
All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a vaccine this autumn.
If your child misses their COVID-19 vaccination, for any reason, they will be offered it again at a later date.
Children who do not go to school, for example if they are home-schooled, will also be offered a vaccine. You will be contacted about when and where your child can get one.
If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, they need to wait 4 weeks before they can have a COVID-19 vaccine.
What happens on the day of vaccination
School immunisation teams will visit your child's school to give the vaccine.
All children will be observed for 15 minutes after having the vaccination. This is in the unlikely event they have a serious reaction to the vaccine.
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.
Immunisation teams are trained to deal with reactions and treat them immediately.
COVID-19 vaccine safety
Millions of children around the world have had a COVID-19 vaccine.
The independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children aged 12 to 15.
This followed an extensive review of the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccine in this age group.
The vaccine continues to be closely monitored to make sure it is safe and effective.
Common side effects
Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.
Most side effects are mild and should only last 1 or 2 days, such as:
a sore arm from the injection
flu-like symptoms including shivering (chills)
Children should rest and you can give them paracetamol to help make them feel better.
Very rare side effects
There have been extremely rare reports of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) after COVID-19 vaccination. Most people who had this recovered following rest and simple treatments.
Go to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms within a few days of being vaccinated:
shortness of breath
a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)
COVID-19 vaccine ingredients
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine do
es not contain egg or animal products.
A Guide for Eligible Children and Young People Aged 12 to 17
What is COVID-19 or coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a very infectious respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Very few children and young people with COVID-19 infection go on to have severe disease.
There is no cure for COVID-19 although some newly tested treatments do help to reduce the risk of complications.
Eligibility and timing of vaccination
The NHS is offering COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people. All young people aged 12 to 17 years will be offered a first dose of vaccine. The timing of a second dose for these 12 to 17 year olds will be confirmed later.
Some young people are at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19. They will need 2 doses of vaccine, 8 weeks apart.
Risk of COVID-19 infection
The children and young people at greater risk include those living with serious conditions such as:
cancers (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
serious heart problems
chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including poorly controlled asthma
kidney, liver or a gut disease
lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
an organ transplant
a neurodisability or neuromuscular condition
a severe or profound learning disability
a problem with your spleen, for example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
serious genetic problems
other serious medical conditions as advised by your doctor or specialist
Your specialist or GP will tell you if you need the COVID-19 vaccination.
For most children and young people COVID-19 is usually a milder illness that rarely leads to complications. For a very few the symptoms may last for longer than the usual 2 to 3 weeks. The vaccination will help to protect you against COVID-19.
Currently the vaccine licensed for children and young people is the Pfizer vaccine. This is what you will be offered.
Protection from the vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up some protection from the vaccine. You should get good protection from the first dose. For those at risk, having a second dose should give you longer lasting protection.
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe. Further information is available on symptoms on NHS.UK.
The vaccines do not contain organisms that grow in the body, and so are safe for children and young people with disorders of the immune system. These people may not respond so well to the vaccine but it should offer them protection against severe disease.
You will probably want to share information about the vaccine with your parents and discuss it together.
If you are being offered the vaccination at school, you may be given a consent form that your parent or guardian should sign giving permission for you to have the vaccination.
The nurse or GP will discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with you at your appointment and will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Common side effects
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them. With the vaccine we use in under-18s, side effects are more common with the second dose.
Very common side effects include:
having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccination
general aches, or mild flu like symptoms
You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help make you feel better. Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for 2 to 3 days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you or your parents can call NHS 111.
Less common side effects
Recently, cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely after COVID-19 vaccines.
Most of these cases have been in younger men and usually a few days after the second vaccination. Most people recovered and felt better following rest and simple treatments.
You should seek medical advice urgently if you experience:
shortness of breath
feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart
If you or your parents or carers do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them the vaccination card, if possible) so that they can assess you properly.
You or your parents and carers can also report suspected side effects to vaccines and medicines online through the coronavirus Yellow Card scheme.
Can you catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.
The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:
a new continuous cough
a high temperature
a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell If you have the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test
What to do next
After you have had the first dose you may be given a second appointment sometime later. Your record card will show the details of the first dose. Keep your record card safe.
You will be advised on the right timing for your second dose to help give the best, and longest lasting protection for you.
If you are not well when your appointment is due
You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or within 4 weeks of having a positive COVID-19 test.
How COVID-19 is spread
COVID-19 is spread through droplets breathed out from the nose or mouth, particularly when speaking or coughing.
It can also be picked up by touching your eyes, nose and mouth after contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.
You must still follow any national or local restrictions and:
where advised wear a face mask
wash your hands regularly
open windows to let fresh air in
follow the current guidance
Covid-19 Vaccination advice for children and young people
Education Hub Article on Covid-19 Testing
A joint letter to parents of secondary school and college students in England on Covid-19 testing and vaccines from the Secretaries of State for Education and for Health and Social Care.
We know that children and young people have been hugely affected by the pandemic, both in terms of their education and their ability to socialise and participate in activities that benefit them outside of formal education.
We want to thank you as parents and guardians of secondary school and college students for your support over the last eighteen months. We know this time has been difficult for many of you, as well as for the young people you care for.
As students return to the classroom, we would ask for your continued support to make sure your children are able to stay in face-to-face learning, by encouraging them to:
test themselves for COVID-19 twice a week, and more frequently if they are specifically asked to do so. This way, we can find individuals who have the virus but are not showing symptoms, and stop them from passing it on to others.
come forward for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is one of the best things young people can do to protect themselves and those around them.
We know that students have missed a lot of time in school and college since the pandemic started, and that there is no substitute for face-to-face learning. Keeping students in the classroom in the coming months is therefore a Government priority, both for their immediate and longer-term wellbeing.
We know that some of you will be concerned about the health risks to the young people you care for. We want to reassure you that the evidence shows that young people remain at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
However, we need to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Young people who get ill will need to miss school or college, and may spread it to others. That is why we are encouraging you all to support your children to get vaccinated and to continue to test regularly. This will help to detect cases early, reduce spread, and keep students in education.
Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19. They help protect young people, and benefit those around them. Vaccination makes people less likely to catch the virus and less likely to pass it on.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme for children aged 12-15 years has now started. Thousands of young people across the country have already taken the opportunity to receive their vaccine. If your child is 12-15 years old, a consent form and information leaflet from the NHS will be sent home allowing you to provide consent for your child to receive their vaccination at school
We remind you that 16- and 17-year-olds can book their vaccination through the National Booking Service or find a convenient walk-in site. Please do help your 16- and 17-year-olds to book a vaccination for yourself if you have not done so already, or if you have missed a second dose.
We ask that you support and encourage your children to test twice a week at home, every week, with Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. This will help us reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among our children. Please report and upload test results online, even if they are negative or void, as this allows us to understand the virus and take additional action when needed.
In addition to regular twice weekly testing:
Children who receive a positive LFD result should isolate and book a PCR test to confirm their result.
Children who are identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace should take a PCR test and continue to go to school while they wait for their result.
In response to potential outbreaks, your school, college or local health team may advise additional testing. For example, if your child is identified as a close contact, they may be asked to take daily LFDs, while they wait for their PCR result. In this scenario, they should continue to attend school as long as their LFD results remain negative.
Additionally, please encourage your child to follow guidance on wearing face coverings in crowded spaces with people they don't know well, for example on school transport.
We know that many of you will have questions or concerns about this, and we understand that. The NHS website (www.nhs.uk) is an excellent source of advice, which we hope will be able to answer many of your questions about testing or vaccination. If not, you can call the 119 service who should be able to help with questions on testing. When you get a vaccination consent form for your child, it will include details of how you can ask further questions of your local teams.
Thank you again for your support
Here are some frequently answered questions for parents, from Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency
Why do young people aged 12 to 15 years need to get the vaccine?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection is typically mild in most young people, but it can be very unpleasant for some and one dose of the vaccine will provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.
Vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds also helps reduce the need for young people to have time off school and reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools. The vaccine will protect young people from COVID-19 and reduce disruption to education, which is good for their welfare and mental health.
Why did the JCVI say young people didn’t need the vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) looked at the direct health benefits of vaccines, and in the case of 12 to 15 year olds, they said that there was only a small advantage for young people in getting a dose of the vaccine.
The Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) took into account the extra health benefits from avoiding children missing education and concluded that there were public health grounds to recommend vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds. The UK CMOs' advice sets out their reasoning here:
My child has already had COVID-19 - should they still get the vaccine?
Yes, they should be vaccinated regardless of whether they have already had a COVID-19 infection because:
research has not yet shown how long people who have had COVID-19 are protected from getting it again after they recover
vaccination helps to boost your protection, even if you’ve already had COVID-19
Has the vaccine been given to 12 to 15 year olds in other countries?
Trials in thousands of children have shown that the vaccine works very well in this age group. The vaccine has since been given to millions of 12 to 15 year olds in a number of countries, including 8 million in the United States. Data from these countries show that the vaccine has a good safety record.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause heart problems in young people?
Worldwide, there have been very rare cases of inflammation of the heart called myocarditis or pericarditis reported after COVID-19 vaccines. Most of these young people felt better following rest and simple treatments. These cases have been seen mostly in younger males and mainly occurred within a few days of the second dose; it is extremely rare after the first dose of the vaccine.
Is the vaccine safe for children with allergies or other medical conditions?
There are very few children or young people who cannot receive the vaccine. If in doubt, young people and their parents or carers should check with the school immunisation team or consult their GP or specialist clinician.
I have seen fake stories on social media about the vaccine
You may have come across false or misleading information about the virus or the vaccine. It is important that you get your information from trusted sources such as:
The children’s programme information
The parents' guide is on the link below with the guidance for schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-schools
To view the above in different languages please click below:
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