When will teenagers get Covid vaccines?

By Tom Blackburn

With autumn looming, many people are worried about what the next few months could hold for coronavirus infection rates.

In a bid to avoid a potential autumn lockdown, health authorities are reportedly preparing to approve the roll-out of vaccines to children aged between 12 and 15.

It’s believed that young people in this age group will be given a single vaccine dose, rather than the standard two.

When will teenagers get Covid vaccines?

Covid vaccines are already available to over-12s with seriously weakened immune systems, while over-16s can also get their first jab.

All over-18s, meanwhile, are eligible to get both vaccine doses.

Reports now suggest that the roll-out of Covid jabs among those aged from 12 to 15 years will begin as early as next week.

Children aged between 12 and 15 could be offered Covid vaccines from as early as next week (Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel)

How high are vaccination rates among young people?

Vaccine take-up among younger age groups has been high, although under-30s have only been eligible for vaccination since June.

In Scotland and Wales, about three-quarters of 16 to 29-year-olds have had at least one jab. In England, this figure is slightly lower, at around two-thirds.

The NHS reported earlier in September that half of all teenagers aged 16 and 17 had their first coronavirus vaccine within a month of becoming eligible.

Prof Neil Ferguson has said vaccinating teenagers should be a key priority in the fight against Covid (PA)

Why is vaccinating teenagers so important?

With schools having recently reopened, there’s considerable concern among health experts and the general public about the potential effect on case rates, with children back in often cramped and poorly ventilated classrooms.

Though schoolchildren are generally at much lower risk from the virus, there are concerns that they could pass it on to others more vulnerable than themselves.

Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London has said that vaccinating teenagers should now be a key priority for health chiefs.

Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Prof Ferguson pointed out that some other European countries had already made more progress in vaccinating teenagers, and that Britain was at risk of falling behind.

Prof Ferguson also said he supported the idea of offering booster shots to help bolster immunity ahead of the winter months.

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