The COVID-19 vaccine is a safe way to protect you, your family, and your friends from getting sick.

The information on this page is about vaccinating people aged 12 to 17.

Recommended vaccines

Adolescents can be vaccinated at SA Health vaccination clinics, GPs and pharmacies. People aged 12 to 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who can provide consent. People aged 16 and over can provide their own consent and attend their appointment by themselves.

For people aged 12 to 15:

  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart (only available at GPs and pharmacies)

People aged 12 to 15 with severe immunocompromise:

  • A third dose is recommended, two months after the second dose

For people aged 16 to 17:

  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart
    • A booster dose three months after your second dose
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart (only available at GPs and pharmacies)
    • A Pfizer booster dose three months after your second dose

People aged 16 to 17 with severe immunocompromise:

  • A third dose is recommended, two months after the second dose
  • A booster dose three months after your third dose
  • A winter dose four months after your booster dose, or four months after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 if you caught it after your booster dose

Find out what to expect before, during and after your vaccination appointment.

Why should I get vaccinated?

The vaccines work by teaching your body to fight illness so that you don’t get sick or your symptoms aren’t as bad if you do get sick.

Having the vaccine means you will be less likely to catch COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If you’re vaccinated, you will be able to visit vulnerable or older family members more safely. School will also be safer.

There is still a chance that you will catch COVID-19, but if you do, you are likely to have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

If you or your parents are still undecided about whether to get vaccinated, here are some additional resources to help you make your choice:

Safety and efficacy

All age groups are given the same safe and effective vaccine, which is given at a different dose depending on age.

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, providing protection against existing variants including Delta and Omicron.

The vaccines have been tested extensively in clinical trials and, following the conclusion of the clinical trials, millions of people around the world have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Side effects

You might experience some side effects after your vaccine, but these are usually mild and only last for a couple of days. This might include pain, redness or swelling, a headache, or a fever. This is very normal. Talk to your parent or caregiver if you feel unwell or are worried about how you feel after the vaccine.

There are rare side effects linked to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, including myocarditis and pericarditis. For more information, see the COVID-19 vaccination – Guidance on Myocarditis and Pericarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Underlying medical conditions and allergies

If you are severely immunocompromised, you should receive a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 2 to 6 months after your second dose.

Your doctor or specialist may refer you to the specialist immunisation service at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital if required.

Vaccination after COVID-19 infection

If you have had COVID-19 you should wait to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine for 3 months after the confirmed infection.

This is to optimise your vaccine protection. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

The next scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be given as soon as possible after 3 months. You should still have all the recommended doses.

If you have had COVID-19, you do not need to defer other vaccinations – for example, your flu vaccine. But you should not get any vaccine if you are acutely unwell (e.g., you have a fever).