Last updated 27 July 2022
For most children, COVID-19 is a mild illness and rarely leads to complications. However, small numbers of children could have complications that may result in admission to hospital. This risk is higher if the children have some underlying health conditions. Getting vaccinated is a safe and effective way to protect them against serious illness and hospitalisation with COVID-19.
All children aged 5-11 are offered a primary course of COVID vaccine. Those aged 5-15 in clinical risk groups will also be offered an autumn booster (please note that children aged 12-15 in a clinical risk group are also eligible for a first booster).
It is important that you make the right decision for you and your child. On this page you can find information about COVID-19 vaccination from trusted sources.
What are the clinical risk groups for 5-11 year olds for COVID-19 vaccination?
Children aged 5-11 with the the following conditions will be offered two doses of COVID-19 vaccination at least eight weeks apart (source: Green Book updated on 28 February 2022):
- Chronic respiratory disease: Including those with poorly controlled asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, cystic fibrosis, ciliary dyskinesias and bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- Poorly controlled asthma is defined as: two or more courses of oral corticosteroids (tablets) in the preceding 24 months OR on maintenance oral corticosteroids (tablets) OR one or more hospital admission for asthma in the preceding 24 months.
- 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
- Chronic conditions of the kidney, liver or digestive system: Including those associated with congenital malformations of the organs, metabolic disorders and neoplasms, and conditions such as severe gastro-oesophageal reflux that may predispose to respiratory infection
- Chronic neurological disease This includes those with
- neuro-disability and/or neuromuscular disease that may occur as a result of conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and muscular dystrophy
- hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles, other conditions associated with hypoventilation
- severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), Down’s syndrome, those on the learning disability register
- neoplasm of the brain
- Endocrine disorders: Including diabetes mellitus, Addison’s and hypopituitary syndrome
- Immunosuppression Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including:
- those undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, solid organ transplant recipients, bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients
- genetic disorders affecting the immune system (e.g. deficiencies of IRAK-4 or NEMO, complement disorder, SCID)
- those with haematological malignancy, including leukaemia and lymphoma
- those receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulating biological therapy
- those treated with or likely to be treated with high or moderate dose corticosteroids
- those receiving any dose of non-biological oral immune modulating drugs e.g. methotrexate, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine or mycophenolate
- those with auto-immune diseases who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments
Children who are about to receive planned immunosuppressive therapy should be considered for vaccination prior to commencing therapy.
- Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen: Including hereditary spherocytosis, homozygous sickle cell disease and thalassemia major
- Serious genetic abnormalities that affect a number of systems: Including mitochondrial disease and chromosomal abnormalities
Household Contacts of People who are immunosuppressed
Children aged 5-15 who are household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed are also eligible for a primary course and an autumn booster. People who will be eligible in this category are "individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days (and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable) with individuals who are immunosuppressed".
Useful information to help you make a choice about vaccination for 5-11 year olds in clinical risk groups