Want to protect your 12 to15-year-olds’ health and education?

In what seems like the blink of an eye, February half term is already upon us when Christmas is barely out of the rear-view mirror. 

Battling to fill the days for bored 12 to15-year-olds over half-term week, can feel like a job in itself. But those extra free hours are also a valuable opportunity to do one of the most important things you can for your teenager’s health and education.

Making sure they get their second COVID-19 vaccination. 

With hospitalisations falling, it might be tempting to think that COVID-19 is a thing of the past. However, the message from our local NHS remains the same: stay safe by getting fully vaccinated.  

And that’s especially important for youngsters who’ve already suffered so much disruption to their education over the past couple of years. 

So why should your 12 to 15-year-old  go and get that all important second jab? 

Here are five great reasons! 

1 For their education 

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on schooling. As young people settle into another   spring term under COVID, rolling out the vaccine could make a big difference in these important secondary school years, reducing the spread of the virus and cutting student and teacher absences and school closures. 

2 To protect them from the effects of COVID – and long COVID 

While COVID-19 is a mild disease in most young people, some will become ill with the virus and some will suffer the post-illness effects of long COVID. Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Merton Director of Public Health said: ”These effects can be debilitating for teenagers and also impact on their learning and ability to take part in out-of-school activities.  

3 To catch up with their friends and family 

One of the toughest things during lockdown was being separated from elderly and vulnerable relatives who are at greatest risk of death and serious illness. Let’s encourage our 12to15-year-olds to protect our loved ones by protecting themselves first.  

4 To protect everyone around them 

Young people mixing in school – and out – can spread the virus. And while they may not become ill, their parents, grandparents and the people they come into contact with might. All of this means more cases in the community having an impact on health and other vital services, especially during the winter months. 

5 For their holidays 

While COVID-19 regulations are easing in Britain, many overseas destinations are still maintaining strict rules.  Some countries such as Spain, Germany and Canada require proof of double vaccination by the over 12s for entry. An unexpected flare up of the virus here or abroad could leave the unvaccinated wrong footed and without time to plan in a second dose. If your teenager gets their first jab this month, they will be able to have their second dose in May – in time for the late spring holidays. But bear in mind that if they catch COVID they will need to wait 12 weeks for either dose, potentially pushing the date when they are fully vaccinated into the summer months. 

So, if you and your child have decided to have their second dose or missed out on their first dose you have three options. 

  • Our vaccinations teams will be making return visits to some secondary schools this term offering first and second doses. On Saturday, 12 February, between 10am-5pm  there will be a pop up vaccination centre at St Mark’s Academy, Mitcham with sessions for 12 to 15 year olds and 16 to 17 year olds. 
  • Or pop up into one of the drop in centres we are running in Mitcham over the next few weeks. Here are our dates for next week: 
  • New Horizon Centre, South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham CR4 1LT; Monday, 14 February, 4-6pm 
  • Power Centre Church, 238-240 London Road, Mitcham CR4 3HD; 

Thursday 17 February 10am-1pm 

For questions about the vaccine, safety and side effects – read our blog on key questions asked about the Covid-19 vaccine for 12-15 years olds  

The independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children aged 12 to 15.