Information for young people on coronavirus vaccination

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The HSC is offering the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to all 16-17 year olds in Northern Ireland. First doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be available at regional vaccination centres across Northern Ireland

If you’re aged 16 or 17 and want to book online, you can do so here. You can also get your vaccine at mobile vaccination clinics being held across Northern Ireland.

Proof of date of birth (for example birth certificate, bus pass, passport, driving licence, exam certificate, National Insurance number card etc) will be required when you attend a regional vaccination centre or mobile vaccination clinic for vaccination.

The regional vaccination centres are:

  • SSE Arena, 2 Queens Quay, Belfast BT3 9QQ
  • Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast BT12 6BA
  • Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Trostan Avenue, Ballymena BT43 7BL
  • South Lake Leisure Centre, 1 Lake Road, Craigavon BT64 1AS
  • The Foyle Arena, 2 Limavady Road, Londonderry BT47 6JY
  • Omagh Leisure Centre, Old Mountfield Road, Omagh BT79 7EG
  • Lakeland Forum, Broadmeadow, Enniskillen BT74 7EF

Details of the latest mobile clinics are listed here:

Get a COVID-19 vaccination in Northern Ireland | nidirect

Why should I get the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine that you will have has been shown to reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease, and vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others - it’s a way to keep you, your friends and family safe.

Millions of doses of the vaccine have been given worldwide. The vaccine is highly effective in children and young people.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. The long term response to the pandemic requires a safe and effective vaccine to be available for all who need it.

It may take a few weeks for your body to build up some protection from the vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.

Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

If you are currently unwell, it is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine.

You should not attend a vaccine appointment or walk-in centre if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or within 4 weeks of having a first confirmed positive COVID-19 test.

Side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term and not everyone gets them. The very common side effects should only last a day or two. The Pfizer vaccine tends to cause more side effects after the second dose of the vaccine.

Very common side effects in the first day or two include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
  • feeling tired
  • headache, aches and chills

You may also have flu like symptoms with episodes of shivering and shaking for a day or two. However, a high temperature could also indicate that you have COVID-19 or another infection.

You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help make you feel better.

An uncommon side effect is swollen glands in the armpit or neck on the same side as the arm where you had the vaccine. This can last for around 10 days, but if it lasts longer see your doctor.

What to do if you are concerned about your symptoms

These symptoms normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you or your parents can call NHS 111. If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them the vaccination record card) so that they can assess you properly.

You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines online through the Yellow Card scheme or by downloading the Yellow Card app.

Are there other more serious side effects?

Recently, cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely after COVID-19 vaccines.

These cases have been seen mostly in younger men within a few days after vaccination. Most of these people recovered quickly and felt better following rest and simple treatments.

You should seek medical advice urgently if you experience:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart

 

Can you catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Although a fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

What you can do after you’ve had the vaccine

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and it will reduce your chance of becoming ill. It is still important to continue to follow current national guidance. You can continue going to school, college or work after you have had the vaccine.

To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues, you must still:

  • think about social distancing
  • wear a face covering where advised
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • open windows to let fresh air in
  • follow the current guidance

 

Further information

Please read the product information leaflet for more details on your vaccine, including possible side effects, on the Coronavirus Yellow Card website. You can also report suspected side effects on the same website or by downloading the Yellow Card app.

Further information is available from www.nidirect.gov.uk/coronavirus

A leaflet on what to expect after COVID-19 vaccination is available to download here.