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The Lowdown on Covid Vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds

We’re sure you’ve all heard by now that all 12 to 15-year-olds will now be offered one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Wales. Meic is here to give you more information and answer any questions you may have.

This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma

What is the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Covid-19 vaccine doesn’t work the same as the MMR or flu vaccines. They don’t inject you with the live virus so you can’t catch Covid from having the vaccine. The vaccine teaches the cells in your body how to fight the virus that causes Covid-19. If you do become infected then your immune system will have a better chance of fighting to get rid of it. Having the vaccine doesn’t mean you can’t catch Covid, but it does mean you are less likely to get seriously ill and need to go into hospital for treatment.

The vaccine does not alter your DNA and it doesn’t contain microchips to track your movements.

Why is it being given now?

They previously haven’t been giving the vaccine to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds. There is less risk of you getting seriously ill from Covid. They have decided to offer the vaccine now after looking at the potential benefits and have decided to go ahead. They hope it will reduce disruption in education over winter, has mental health benefits and reduces the risk of long Covid.

Who chooses if I can have the vaccine or not?

You don’t have to have the vaccine if you don’t want it, nobody will force you to have it. The Welsh Government are encouraging young people and their parents to have a conversation about being vaccinated and to chat about whether you want to take up the offer or not.

cartoon man getting vaccine from nurse both wearing masks

When and where will I get the vaccine?

Some young people might get the vaccine at school and others at a vaccination centre. It depends on what they decide to do in your area. Your health board will be in touch to organise when and where you will get your vaccination. Wait until you hear from them.

If you’re experiencing Covid symptoms, are self-isolating, waiting for Covid test results or within 4 weeks of a positive Covid test then you should not turn up for your Covid vaccine. Call them to cancel and they will tell you what you need to do next.

How is it given?

The Covid vaccine is given as an injection in your arm. If you’re worried about needles or having an injection, then tell the person giving the vaccine this. It’s good for them to know how you are feeling and they may be able to help reassure you.

Distraction techniques can work too. Try not to look at the needle and talk about things while you are having the jab. You could try relaxation techniques like breathing too, like this 7-11 breathing exercise on Student Space.

Remember, the people giving these jabs have been doing this for a long time. They are experts in giving these injections by now (I honestly didn’t feel a thing when I got mine). If you’re lucky you might even get a sticker at the end! 😉

Further questions

If you have more questions about Covid or the Vaccine then Public Health Wales have lots of questions and answers here that could help, or if you want to talk to one of our Meic advisers about any worries or concerns you may have, then contact us anytime between 8am and midnight every day by phone, text or online chat.