Vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds

Young people aged 12 to 15 can be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) particularly encourage this for young people at an increased risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes children and young people with:

  • severe neuro-disabilities
  • Down's syndrome
  • underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression
  • a diagnosis of a learning/intellectual disability

More about the vaccines and health conditions

The JCVI also recommends that those aged 12 to 17 who live with someone who is immunosuppressed should also be offered the vaccine.

Most young people aged 12 to 15 will only receive one dose of the vaccine, unless they have an underlying health condition that makes them eligible for two doses, at least 8 weeks apart.

Vaccine invitations for children at higher risk

If your child or young person is eligible, you will be contacted by NHS Scotland with your child's vaccination appointment details. Some children under specialist care will be contacted directly by their healthcare professional and others will receive a vaccination invitation letter.

Local health boards aim to vaccinate those who cannot attend a clinic in their own home or a care setting. Local health boards will contact the parents or carers of these children directly to organise this.

Vaccine registration for household contacts

If your child or young person is a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed, they can register for a coronavirus vaccine.

You will receive a letter advising them they can register by phoning the national COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013.

Vaccine invitations for other children aged 12 to 15

From 20 September 2021, children and young people aged 12 to 15 can attend drop-in clinics to receive their vaccine.

From 27 September 2021, all children and young people aged 12 to 15 will receive an appointment letter inviting them to an appointment at a drop-in centre or vaccination clinic.


It's important for children and young people and their parents or carers to discuss the vaccine and come to a decision together.

Parents and carers will be invited to accompany their children to their vaccine appointment and will be given an opportunity to ask questions, and to discuss the benefits and risks of the vaccine.

More about consent for those under 16

Rearranging your appointment

You should phone the number in your letter to rearrange your child's appointment if the time and date does not suit. If you were contacted by your child's specialist, you should phone them to rearrange your appointment.

If your child or young person’s level of care needs or disability needs mean they cannot attend a clinic, phone the local number on their invitation letter.

If your child is a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed and they registered with the national COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline, they should phone them on 0800 030 8013 to rearrange your appointment.

Vaccine safety

NHS Scotland only use vaccines that meet the required standards of safety and effectiveness. All medicines, including vaccines, are tested for safety and effectiveness before they’re allowed to be used. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has to assess all the data and also ensure a vaccine works and that all the necessary trials and checks have been completed.

The MHRA will only approve a vaccine for supply in the UK if the expected standards of safety, quality and efficacy are met. The safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines continue to be checked while in use.