Important information about coronavirus (COVID-19)
Last updated Tuesday 21 December 2021
The latest information about COVID-19 is available on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus (opens in a new window).
All children aged 12 – 15 should have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (including children who turn 12 on the date of vaccination). One dose gives good protection against becoming seriously ill. The second dose gives stronger and longer-lasting protection against COVID-19.
Most children can have their second dose from 12 weeks after their first dose.
If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not at high risk of serious illness from the virus, they will need to wait for 12 weeks from the date of their positive test until they can have their vaccination.
Everyone aged 16 – 17 should have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. You should have your second dose from 12 weeks after your first dose. You should also have a booster if:
- You have a health condition that puts you at high risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.
- You are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are not at high risk of serious illness from the virus, you will need to wait for 12 weeks from the date of your positive test until you can have your vaccination.
Everybody aged 18 and over should have two vaccinations plus a booster dose.
You should have your second vaccination eight weeks after your first. You will be invited to have your booster two months after the date of your second vaccination and be able to make an appointment for three months after your second vaccination.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are not at high risk of serious illness from the virus, you will need to wait for four weeks from the date of your positive test until you can have your vaccination.
You will need to have three vaccinations PLUS the booster dose. This is because your immune system This is because evidence shows you may not have responded as well to your first and second vaccinations as well as other people and therefore have less protection against COVID-19.
Your GP or consultant will advise when is the best time for you to have your vaccinations and you will be contacted.
You are recommended to wait for 14 days after your vaccinations before you meet with people.
The COVID-19 vaccinations cannot protect you from catching the virus. However, having the COVID-19 booster will help to improve and extend the protection against serious illness and hospitalisation provided by your first doses of the vaccine.
- Most people should have their booster three months after their second vaccination.
- Immunosuppressed people should have their booster three months after their third vaccination.
- You will be contacted by the NHS two months after your second vaccination to let you know that you can book your booster on the NHS national booking service in a month’s time.
- If you prefer to visit a walk-in clinic for your booster, you will be able to do this one month after you hear from the NHS.
It is extremely important that if you are eligible for a booster vaccination you have one, to help you to avoid becoming seriously ill if you catch COVID-19.
Walk-in vaccination clinics
Walk-in vaccination clinics offer first, second and booster doses during the day, evening and at weekends. Details of the dates, addresses, minimum ages for vaccinations and the types of vaccinations offered are published at: www.bit.ly/CovidVaccineBDC (opens in new window). These details are updated daily and are published for the week ahead.
You can visit the walk-in centre without having:
- an appointment
- an NHS number
- being registered with a GP.
COVID-19 symptoms and what you should do
- High temperature. This means that you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
- A new continuous cough. This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
- A loss of change to your sense of smell or taste. This means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people have at least one of these symptoms. Click on the following link for information about COVID-19 symptoms in children on the nhs.uk website (opens in new window)
You should do the following things even if the symptoms are mild:
- Get a PCR test (a test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19. Do this as soon as possible. Find out how to get a test to check if you have coronavirus on the nhs.uk website (opens in a new window).
- Stay at home and do not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get your test result. Only leave your home to have a test. Find out how to check if people you live with need to self-isolate on the nhs.uk website (opens in a new window).
You can order a PCR test kit to be sent to your home or book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site. You can also call 119 for help.
There are two types of tests for COVID-19.
The rapid lateral flow test. This should be used for regular tests if you do not have symptoms.
- About one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.
- Even if you are vaccinated, there is still a chance you can pass COVID-19 on.
- You should do a rapid test twice a week (every three to four days) to check if you have the virus.
If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading. Click on the following link for information about rapid lateral flow tests on the nhs.uk website (opens in new window).
The PCR test. This test is for anybody who has symptoms of COVID-19. The test is sent to a laboratory for analysis. You will need to:
- make an appointment to go to a test centre or
- ask for the test to be sent to you at home. You will then need to post the test kit for analysis.
Further information about the PCR test is published on the nhs.uk website (opens in a new window).
Recovery after COVID-19
Recovering from COVID-19 can have a major impact on both your mind and body and it may take some time to come to terms with the after-effects. These changes should get better over time and for some people the recovery may take longer than for others.
There are things you can do to help to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery. It is important to know that everybody will experience recovering from COVID-19 differently.
The Your COVID Recovery website (opens in a new window) will help you with this and provide information to support and reassure you and your family and friends.
What to do if you need medical help
Use the 111 online coronavirus service (opens in a new window) if:
- you’re worried about your symptoms
- you’re not sure what to do
Visit the NHS.UK website if you need information about other services (opens in a new window)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information in other languages
Information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is published in other languages by the independent humanitarian movement ‘Doctors of the World‘ (opens in a new window).