As the COVID-19 programme of vaccination continues for adults, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that children and young people aged 12-15, who are at an increased risk of COVID-19, can now be offered the vaccine.
This cohort includes children and young people aged 12-15 with:
- severe neuro-disabilities
- Down’s syndrome
- underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression
- a diagnosis of learning/intellectual disability
- those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed
Eligible children and young people will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
What does this mean for children and young people with epilepsy?
The category of ‘severe neuro-disabilities’ includes some children and young people with epilepsy.
Currently, people with controlled epilepsy are not considered at a higher risk from COVID-19 related complications unless they have other conditions which may increase their risk.
However, children and young people with uncontrolled epilepsy, who clinicians assess as being at higher risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19, can be referred for vaccination.
This means clinicians may risk assess whether your child or young person would benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, and will refer those they deem eligible.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for children and young people?
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulates all medicines, including vaccines, in the UK. All medicines, including vaccines, are thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness before they are allowed to be used.
NHS Scotland only use vaccines that meet the required standards of safety and effectiveness, as regulated by the MHRA.
Why should your child or young person get the vaccine if they are offered?
NHS Scotland strongly recommends you get the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. The vaccine reduces the risk of getting seriously ill from COVID.
What should you do now?
If your child or young person is eligible, you will be contacted by NHS Scotland with details of their appointment.
If your child or young person lives with someone who is immunosuppressed, you can register them for a COVID-19 vaccine. You should receive a letter informing you they can register by phoning the national COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine for children and young people aged 12-15, check out Public Health Scotland’s dedicated information guide.
For those aged 16-17, check out this guide.
If you have any further questions, please call our Helpline, 0808 800 2200, or message us on social media.