JCVI Update for children and COVID-19 vaccines

As the national booking service for COVID-19 vaccines opens for Spring booster
appointments, the NHS has made it easier for people with a weakened immune system to get the vaccinations they need.

Children aged 5 to 11 at high risk 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises recommends that 5 to 11-year-olds who are either in a clinical risk group or are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed be offered two 10 micrograms doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with a minimum interval of eight weeks between doses.

The JCVI has said it will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to this group.

Children aged 12 to 15 at high risk

JCVI advises a booster dose for 12 to 15-year-olds who have a health condition which puts them at higher risk from COVID-19 (but who are not immunosuppressed and therefore already included in the group eligible for a Spring booster).

A booster is also offered to people in this age group who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed.

The recommended interval is a minimum of three months after the second primary dose.

Clinical and other risk groups for children and young people aged 5-15 years

Chronic heart conditions

Haemodynamically significant congenital and acquired heart disease, or less severe heart disease with other co-morbidity. This includes:

  • single ventricle patients or those palliated with a Fontan (Total Cavopulmonary Connection) circulation
  • those with chronic cyanosis (oxygen saturations < 85% persistently)
  • patients with cardiomyopathy requiring medication
  • patients with congenital heart disease on medication to improve heart function
  • patients with pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) requiring medication

Information above on eligibility from the Green Book, chapter 14a. (Table 4)

How to get the vaccine

Most children in this age group will have been offered a first and second dose of the vaccine at school during school hours.

GPs and hospital specialists have been asked to identify 12 to 15-year-olds who are eligible for boosters – both those in a clinical risk group and household contacts.

Parents and guardians are usually notified if their child should get a booster.

Families can find a time for their child to be vaccinated – whether it’s a primary dose or a booster – through the national booking service, by calling 119 or finding a walk-in site using the NHS’ online finder.

Not every walk-in site is able to offer vaccination for 12 to 15-year-olds, so please use the site finder to make sure you choose the right site.

When attending their appointment, children must bring a letter, text message or email from a GP or hospital specialist confirming that they are eligible for a booster dose.

This communication may have been sent to them directly, to their parent or guardian, or to the person with a weakened immune system if they are eligible as a household contact.

If you or your child have not been contacted but you think they are eligible, please contact your GP surgery.