COVID-19 vaccination: easy-read guide for at-risk children and young people aged 12 to 15 years

Updated 16 February 2022

Coronavirus vaccine for children and young people, aged 12 to 15 who are most likely to get very poorly from coronavirus.

This information is for children and young people and their families and carers.

It is about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 and the vaccine.

Coronavirus is an illness that can make you poorly.

Most children and young people won’t have any symptoms or feel very poorly if they get coronavirus.

If you catch coronavirus, you might feel like you have a bad cold.

A very small number of children and young people might have to go to hospital.

The vaccine will help protect you from getting very poorly from coronavirus.

It is very important for you to get the vaccine because you have a health condition that means you are more likely to get very poorly if you get coronavirus.

If you are aged 12 to 15 years old, you should have the coronavirus vaccine if you:

  • are disabled in a way that affects how your brain works with your body, like having cerebral palsy or epilepsy

  • have an immune system that doesn’t work very well (which means that your body is not able to fight off viruses and germs as well as other peoples can)

  • have a learning disability that means you need the most support – this is sometimes called a ‘severe learning disability’

  • have Down’s syndrome

  • are on your doctor’s (GP) learning disability register

If you are not sure if you should have the vaccine you, or your parent or carer can contact your doctor (such as your GP or paediatrician). They should be able to check for you.

You should not go for your vaccine if you:

Are staying at home because you have been around someone who has coronavirus.

Think you might have coronavirus and are waiting for a test.

Are feeling poorly, or if you are feeling different to how you usually feel.

About the vaccine

You will need to have 2 vaccines to keep you as safe as possible.

The second vaccine should be 8 to 12 weeks after your first vaccine. 8 to 12 weeks is the same as 2 to 3 months.

The vaccine has been tested by lots of people who have made sure that is it safe.

The vaccine will help to stop you getting as poorly if you coronavirus.

How to book your appointment

You and your parent or carer will get a letter or a phone call to invite you for your vaccine.

If you have not had a letter or a phone call you or your parent or carer can ring 119 to book an appointment.

When you get your vaccine

You can talk to the nurse or doctor who will give you your vaccine, about any support that will help make it easier for you.

This is sometimes called reasonable adjustments.

Your family member can support you to do this or do it for you.

If you or your parent or carer is worried about you having the vaccine, you can talk to your doctor.

When you have had your vaccine, you should be given a card which can be used to show people you have had your vaccine.

Keep your card somewhere safe. If you lose your card after your first vaccine, you can still get your second vaccine. They will give you another one when you get your second vaccine.

It takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to start working and give you protection from coronavirus.

After having the vaccine

Your arm might feel heavy or sore.

Your body might ache.

You might feel like you have a cold or the flu.

You might have a headache.

You might feel tired.

You might feel very hot or very cold.

If you feel poorly, you can:

  • rest
  • ask your parent or carer to give you some painkillers like paracetamol

You should feel better in a few days.

A very small number of people may get:

  • problems with their heart – this can feel like your heart is beating in a different way than usual
  • pain in their chest
  • breathing problems (finding it hard to breath)

If you think there is a problem with your heart or breathing, you can ring 999. Or tell your parent or carer and they can ring 999 for you.

You can also ring 111 if you are not sure what help you need. They will tell you what to do. If it is an emergency, they will be able to send an ambulance.

If you feel poorly after your vaccine, your parent or carers can report it using the yellow card website. This helps find out how different people feel after the vaccine and makes sure the vaccine keeps people safe.

Things you can do to keep protecting yourself from coronavirus

Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser lots. This is important when you are out and when you have just come home.

You don’t have to wear a mask, but it can help keep you and other people safe.

If you are meeting people who do not live with you, try to meet them outside. There is much less chance of getting coronavirus outside.

If you do meet people inside, have doors and windows open so that there is more air coming in.

More information

There is more information on coronavirus on the NHS website.

You can also get more coronavirus information by phoning 111.