COVID-19 vaccination: a guide to a second dose for young people aged 16 to 17
Manx Care is now offering 2 doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to all young people aged 16 to 17 years to help give them longer lasting protection.
You may have recently had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This guide contains information that will help you make the decision about the right time for you to get the second dose.
Young people at greater risk
Those young people who are at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19 will already have been offered 2 doses of vaccine, given 8 weeks apart.
This guide is aimed at those young people who are not considered at greater risk.
Protection from the first dose
Studies suggest that even after 1 dose of vaccine your risk of serious complications from COVID-19 infection are greatly reduced. This protection is expected to last for a few months in young people.
People who have had previous COVID-19 infection who then get 1 dose of vaccine, and those who get infected after the first dose, make a good immune response – at least as good as people who have had 2 doses. This suggests that young people who get both infection and vaccine will have high levels of protection.
Benefits of a second dose
A second dose helps to improve protection in the longer term. Further studies will help us to know how long protection will last.
Side effects from the Pfizer vaccine
Common side effects
Common side effects are:
- having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worse around 1 to 2 days after the vaccination
- feeling tired
- general aches, or mild flu like symptoms
These side effects only last a few days but are more common after the second dose.
Less common side effects
Recently, cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely in the first week after the COVID-19 vaccines.
Most of these cases have been in younger men and are more common after the second vaccination.
The side effects include:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- feeling of having a fast beating, fluttering or pounding heart
Most people recovered and felt better following rest and simple treatments. Amongst those who get severe side effects, there may be an even smaller number in whom there are some longer-term effects. Longer-term studies are underway.
If you had myocarditis or pericarditis after the first dose, you should seek medical advice before having a second dose of the vaccine.
Timing of the second dose
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) currently advises that you should have your second dose around 12 weeks after your first dose. Having a 12 week gap may extend the length of time your protection will last after the second dose.
As a precaution, the JCVI believes that a gap of 8 to 12 weeks may reduce the risk of more serious but rare side effects, like myocarditis.
The JCVI also suggests that if you have had a COVID-19 infection you should wait 12 weeks before having the next dose. If you have had the first dose of vaccine and been infected, you are likely to already have high levels of protection.
These gaps may be reduced to 8 weeks on further guidance, if it is expected that protection from the vaccine or from prior infection may be reduced, for example with a new variant.
There may be other reasons for having the second dose even sooner, after 8 weeks.
These reasons include:
- if you are considered to be ‘at risk’ and have not yet had your second dose
- if you live with someone who is considered at risk and you want to help protect them
- if your circumstances, such as work or essential travel, require a second dose
If you are still unsure, you can discuss your decision with a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
You should 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 of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme.
Public Health Isle of Man has adapted this information leaflet with kind permission from the UK Health Security England: COVID-19 vaccination: resources for children and young people.
Updated 2 December 2021