16 and 17-year-olds across the Black Country and West Birmingham can now book their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Following new guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), teenagers aged 16 and 17 are eligible for a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, provided it has been 12 weeks since their first dose.

Eligible teenagers will be contacted by the NHS via letter or text message when it is their turn to get a second dose.

Appointments can be booked online via the National Booking System or by calling 111, with walk-in appointments also available at selected vaccination sites across the area.

Since the initial roll-out of the vaccine to all 16 and 17-year-olds, Walsall College has worked with local vaccination leads to offer all its students the COVID-19 vaccine.

Students from Walsall College have come forward to encourage others their age who have not yet come forward for their first dose to consider getting the jab. Madi Longmore, aged 16, has already had her COVID-19 vaccine.

She said: “I didn’t only have the vaccine to protect myself, but also to protect my entire family, the people I work with and the people I come to college with.”

Another student, Alex Crammond,16, said: “Since starting my new job I feel as though it’s my priority and responsibility to protect those around me and get the vaccine.”

Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health at Walsall Council, said: “Just because you're young, you're not invincible. You can get COVID-19 like anyone else. It has been so evident in the last few months how much COVID-19 can affect young people. Those aged 0-19 account for the highest number of positive cases, so now is the time to get protected.

“Two doses of the vaccine is now recommended for 16 and 17-year-olds so we really want to see them coming forward and protecting themselves and those around them. If you are eligible for a vaccine, please go and get it – don't wait for the virus to get you first to see how it's going to affect you."

Another student from Walsall College, Kelsey Downing,16, who is planning on getting her vaccine, said: “I did actually have COVID, I’m over it now and I’m planning on getting the vaccine. I cannot wait, I’m going to protect my grandparents, I’m going to protect my mom who is vulnerable. It’s safe, it’s reliable and I cannot wait.”

Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS BCWB CCG, said: “I want to say a big thank you to all those who have already come forward for their lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine already.

“While severe illness is less common in younger people who catch the virus, it is still a risk. Having the vaccination is also vital to help stop the spread in our communities, which is particularly important as we approach winter.

“I urge everyone who has had their first dose to book their second as soon as they can to help keep them and their loved ones safe. And for those aged 16 and 17 who are yet to come forward for their first dose, please remember it’s not too late.”

Parental consent is not required to be vaccinated for this age group. People also do not have to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to be vaccinated, although it will make the process easier so they should bring this information to their vaccination appointment if they can.

You can find more information and resources on the COVID-19 vaccine here.