What you need to know
Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccinations for teens 12 to 15
The COVID-19 vaccine is our best tool to help end the pandemic. We know that children can be infected by, get sick from and spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Some children can develop severe infection with multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Like adults, children who have COVID-19 but with no symptoms (“asymptomatic”) still can spread the virus to others. We also know the vaccine has proven to be very effective in protecting this age group (12- to 15-year-olds) against the virus. We encourage you to speak with your primary care provider if you have questions or concerns about the vaccine.
For further information, we always encourage discussing your child's health and vaccination status with their primary care provider.
Some types of healthcare practitioners licensed in Washington state may grant a medical exemption if, in their judgment, that particular vaccine is "not advisable for the child." A medical exemption may be temporary or permanent. Medical contraindications and precautions to vaccination are outlined in the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendations and guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The provider will decide whether the patient qualifies for a medical exemption.
If you do not have a primary care provider, UW Medicine has primary care locations across the Puget Sound.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for emergency use with 12- to 15-year-olds by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 10, 2021.
Right now, only the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for this age group.
Two. The second dose should come 21-42 days after the first.
Early clinical trials have found no serious safety concerns with the vaccine among 12- to 15-year-olds. Studies are ongoing for children younger than 12.
Very similar to those for young adults, with the most common being a sore arm and mild flu-like symptoms, especially after the second dose. These symptoms might include pain, body aches, chills and fever.
It appears to be very effective. Pfizer announced in late March that a clinical trial with 2,260 participants ages 12 to 15 showed “100% efficacy and robust antibody responses” — an even better result than in young adults.
Two weeks after receiving their second dose.
UW Medicine is currently scheduling appointments for 12- to 15-year-olds at all five of our vaccination sites.
We will be accepting walk-ins starting Thursday, May 13, at Harborview, UW Medical Center (Montlake and Northwest) and the North King County Vaccination Clinic (Shoreline). You can make an appointment by calling 844.520.8700 or by registering online.
Yes, consent by an authorized adult is required for vaccination of all 12- to 15-year-olds. When you register online or book by phone, you will consent at that time. For walk-in patients, a consent form will be provided on site. If an authorized adult is not available to consent at a walk-in appointment, verbal consent by phone will be required.
Authorized adults who may consent for minors include:
- Adult who has court permission to make healthcare decisions for the minor (legal guardian, custodian, out-of-home placement order)
- Parent (unless court order is provided to Public Health which deprives the parent of ability to consent)
- Alternative caregiver (a competent adult to whom a parent has granted written permission to make healthcare decisions for the minor)
- Kinship caregiver (a competent adult relative representing self as responsible for the minor’s healthcare)
- Special rule for homeless children (consent may be obtained from a school nurse, school counselor or homeless student liaison for necessary, non emergency care such as vaccination where the child is not under the care of a parent, custodian, guardian or DCYF)
Yes, this is permitted as long as consent protocols are followed. Minors are allowed to self-consent if they have been declared emancipated by a court, are married to an adult or have been determined by a healthcare provider to be a “mature minor.”
Minors can self-consent if they have been declared emancipated by a court, are married to an adult or have been determined by a healthcare provider to be a “mature minor.”
You should refer to the latest guidance from your local school district as to what it may or may not be requiring of students moving forward.
Yes. While natural immunity offers some protection, we do not know how long it lasts. Getting vaccinated remains the most effective way of preventing serious cases of COVID-19 and reducing the spread of the virus in our community.
No. The CDC currently recommends taking the COVID-19 vaccine series alone with a space of at least two weeks before and after receiving it.
Yes. Free and discounted rides to vaccine appointments for people with transportation challenges are offered through the state’s Vaccine Action Command and Coordination System (VACCS) Center. Transportation partners include Lyft, Uber, United Way Worldwide, Washington 211 and Sea Mar Community Health Centers.
COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11
If you have questions about vaccines and children, see our frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11.