COVID-19 vaccinations for children

All children aged 5 and over are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

No vaccine is 100 percent effective. Children can still catch COVID-19 after vaccination, but the risks are reduced.

Vaccinating children against COVID-19 can:

  • help prevent further disruption to education and social activity
  • reduce symptom severity, if your child does become infected with COVID-19
  • enhance protection provided by past COVID-19 infection, including for future waves due to new variants
  • reduce the risk of catching COVID-19, and the risk of spreading it to others; especially elderly and vulnerable family members
  • help reduce the chances of developing lasting health issues, including long COVID; a condition that can affect multiple organs with symptoms ranging from mild to debilitating
  • help move towards bringing the pandemic to an end. The vaccine has been given to millions of children worldwide and has an excellent safety record
  • help avoid costs. If your child gets COVID-19 you may have to rearrange plans and take time off work
  • help protect the NHS

Non-urgent advice: 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 are at high risk due to a health condition or because of a weakened immune system, or living with someone who has a weakened immune system

How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine for children? 

Over the last 18 months in the UK and across the world, millions of children have been successfully and safely vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccine has passed all clinical safety trials. It has been approved by the UK’s MHRA. This agency is also responsible for monitoring the vaccine on an ongoing basis. This is a requirement for all medicines and vaccines in the UK.

Immune responses are seen with most types of vaccine. Serious side effects are extremely rare following the COVID-19 vaccine.  Common side effects include a sore arm, headache, tiredness and achiness. These mild side effects normally resolve in 1-2 days.

There have been some extremely rare reports of inflammation of the heart, known as myocarditis, after vaccination. These rare cases are usually mild. Most people recovered at home following rest and simple treatments. Myocarditis is significantly more common after COVID-19 infection than after COVID-19 vaccination.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccines outweigh any risks. Side effects have been carefully assessed, and are generally quite mild.

How to book an appointment for your child?

There are several ways to book your child a vaccination appointment:

  1. You can book an appointment online, using the national booking system website.
  2. By using a dedicated walk-in clinic. Find out the details of your nearest walk-in site on the grab a jab website.
  3. By calling 119.

Please note: If a child has recently experienced a COVID-19 infection, it is recommended that they wait for 12 weeks from the infection onset before vaccination. However, if a child is at high risk from COVID-19, or lives with someone who has a weakened immune system, they should only wait 4 weeks before receiving their vaccine.

If your child had a similar illness, but was not tested for COVID-19, there is no need to wait once your child is better.

Non-urgent advice: Be aware of anti-vaccine stories

Anti-vaccine stories are often spread online through social media.

They may not be based on scientific evidence, and could put your child at risk of a serious illness.

Page last reviewed: 27 September, 2022

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