FAQs – Vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds

Background

The NHS is offering coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines to children aged 5 to 11 years.

Experts have advised that parents of all children aged 5 to 11 years should be offered the chance to have their child vaccinated.

Children will be offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vaccine is a third of the dose of vaccine that is given to older children and adults.

Children at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19 will need 2 doses of vaccine, 8 weeks apart. All other children will be offered 2 doses of vaccine 12 weeks apart.

Vaccination is particularly important for children who have health conditions that put them at high risk from COVID-19, as the benefits are greater.

Parents will need to give consent for their child to be vaccinated.

General Q&A

As well as protecting children and young people against serious COVID infection, by getting vaccinated, children and young people can reduce the risk of passing on the infection to others in their family and those they come into contact with.

Getting the vaccine can also make it easier for children and young people to avoid putting their lives and their education on hold because of further disruption to schools, hobbies and social events due to the virus.

Further information is available on symptoms on NHS.UK.

Vaccination centres, pharmacies and GPs in every part of England are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to help protect 5-11 year olds. Invitation letters will be sent out and appointments can be booked easily, just visit www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 to book your first or second dose.

We also have a number of walk-in vaccination services for 5-11s in south east London.

Parents, carers or those with parental responsibilities should attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments with their child. Unlike vaccinations in schools, consent is collected on the day so this is the best way to make sure they can be vaccinated by going through questions together on site.

For looked after children, please refer to the care plan where permissions and restrictions of consent will be outlined. Follow the link for further information on consent to treatment for children and young people.

The preferred option for children in this cohort is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) 10 micrograms dose concentrate, which is a formulation for children aged 5 to 11. However, it is recognised that in exceptional circumstances, and where it is in the best interests of the patient, clinicians may decide to vaccinate children and young people under the age of 12 with a smaller volume of the adult version of the vaccine (a fractionated dose).

Children will be offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vaccine is a third of the dose of vaccine that is given to older children and adults.

Children at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19 will need 2 doses of vaccine, 8 weeks apart. All other children will be offered 2 doses of vaccine 12 weeks apart.

Vaccination sites should ensure a range of times are available which are convenient to parents and children.

No, the COVID-19 vaccine is currently only available as an injection.

You need to wait 12 weeks (84 days)

This starts from the date you had symptoms, or the date of the positive test if you did not have any symptoms. Please choose a suitable appointment date when booking and you can also cancel and rebook an existing appointment for a later date if needed.

Specific Q&A for parents of at-risk 5-11s

A clinician will determine whether or not a child within this age group should be offered COVID-19 vaccination. Children considered at higher risk of severe COVID-19 include those who have: 

  • chronic respiratory disease
  • chronic heart conditions
  • chronic conditions of the kidney, liver or digestive system
  • chronic neurological disease
  • severe, profound or multiple learning disabilities, Down’s syndrome or are on the learning disability register
  • endocrine disorders
  • a weakened immune system due to a treatment (such as steroid medicine, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
  • serious genetic irregularities that affect a number of systems, including mitochondrial disease and chromosomal abnormalities

Children who are about to receive planned immunosuppressive therapy should be considered for vaccination prior to commencing therapy.

A full list of the eligibility criteria is available in table 4 of the Green Book, chapter 14a.

Children at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19 will need 2 doses of vaccine, 8 weeks apart. All other children will be offered 2 doses of vaccine 12 weeks apart.

Children aged 5 to 11 years who are expected to share living accommodation on most days (and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable) with individuals of any age who are immunosuppressed will be entitled to COVID-19 vaccination.

Our standards require sites to allocate more time for vaccinating children. If a child will require any reasonable adjustments at their vaccination appointment to support attendance and delivery of the vaccination, parents should make any requirements needed known when they are booking the appointment on behalf of their child. It is important services are aware of any appropriate arrangements needed in advance.

Additional safeguarding standards will be in place for staff involved in vaccinating this age group. All the clinical staff working in the centre are required to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check. In addition, all staff (excluding stewards) must have additional bespoke training.

A number of additional resources have been prepared to assist providers in preparing the workforce and the environment for young children. All staff involved in vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds will have appropriate training specific to communicating with and vaccinating this age group. For staff vaccinating children with special educational needs and disabilities, all clinical staff are required to have the skill and competences to care for this group of patients.