Covid: When can teens get a second dose?

Image source, Reuters

A second dose of Pfizer vaccine will be offered to 16 and 17 year olds across the UK, following up-to-date advice from the UK Vaccine Committee.

Everyone over the age of 18 in the UK can get two doses of the Covid vaccine, as can some vulnerable and high-risk children over 12.

Healthy, low-risk children between the ages of 12 and 15 have only been offered a single dose.

When can teens get a second dose?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) says that a second dose for 16 and 17 year olds is safe and effective.

The JCVI has previously refrained from recommending a second dose due to concerns about a very rare heart condition, called myocarditis, experienced by a small number of young people, especially children, after the second dose.

He says he is now reassured by evidence from other countries that a 12-week gap between doses would reduce that already very small risk.

A decision on a second dose for 12-15 seconds has not yet been made.

Currently, there is no approved vaccine for children under 12 years of age in the UK.

How can I get vaccinated?

On England, if you are over 18 or within three months of your 18th birthday, you can reserve a jab online or by calling 119. You can also visit a clinic without an appointment. Check with local healthcare providers and social media groups for more details.

If you are 16 or 17, you must make an appointment through your GP or go to a walk-in facility. If you are between the ages of 12 and 15, you will probably get your vaccination at school.

On North Ireland, you can online book or call 0300 200 7813. Drop-in centers are open to older teens.

Can I choose which vaccine to receive?

So far, those under the age of 18 have been offered Pfizer.

How effective are vaccines?

Vaccines are very effective in protecting people from getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19.

Vaccines are less effective at preventing people from becoming infected with the virus, developing mild symptoms, or passing it on, but they also reduce the risk of that happening.

If you have received a double hit, you are much less likely to become seriously ill or die from Covid.

Do I have to get a vaccination?

Vaccinations against covid are not mandatory, but everyone is urged to receive punctures to protect themselves, their family, friends and society in general.

Children under 16 years of age does not need parental consent to be beaten, provided they are believed to have “sufficient intelligence, competence, and understanding to fully appreciate what their treatment entails.” This is known as “Gillick competition”.

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Being fully vaccinated can make traveling to most other countries easier and in many cases means that you won’t have to isolate yourself when you return to the UK either.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that those under the age of 16 are not eligible for their own digital NHS Covid Pass, which is now widely accepted as proof of vaccination.

What’s more, the single pin prick that most UK teenagers have received so far is not recognized as a complete vaccination by some countries (including France), and further testing may be required.

What are the side effects?

Most are mild, completely normal, and disappear within a few days.

They occur because the body’s defenses are reacting to the vaccine and include:

  • sore arm
  • tiredness
  • fever
  • headache
  • Feeling sick

A very small number of people severe allergic reaction after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, so check for any allergies you have before vaccination.

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Can I drink alcohol after the vaccine?

There is no evidence to suggest that you should avoid alcohol entirely, but drinking in large amounts can suppress your immune system.

Does the vaccine affect periods?

This may be because the vaccine causes increased activity in the immune system, which also plays a role in the menstrual cycle.

However, there is no evidence that the vaccine has any impact on pregnancy or fertility.

If you are planning a pregnancy or are breastfeeding, government guidance says you can still get vaccinated,

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What if I have long Covid?

A recent study suggests that vaccination can help improve long-term Covid symptoms.

Researchers believe the vaccine could be pressing the body’s reset button and helping it recover.

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