Young People and Coronavirus

Here's everything you need to know about Coronavirus (Covid-19) - how to protect yourself and your loved ones and still enjoy life!


Covid-19 (coronavirus) is an infectious disease that can cause serious illness.  The main symptoms include a high temperature, a new continuous cough and loss of taste and smell.

The virus continues to have a huge impact on our lives and for young people it’s affected social life, education and mental health in a big way. Things like taking exams, going to university, starting your first job, going to summer festivals or on holiday may all have been disrupted.

Coronavirus hasn’t gone away and the pandemic isn’t over yet but the NHS’s incredible vaccination programme is helping to protect people from getting seriously ill and going into hospital. It’s still possible to catch and spread the virus, but the vaccine means fewer people are dying from it.

As we learn to live with coronavirus, there are lots of things we can do to keep ourselves and our friends and family as safe as possible.

Stay Safe

How to stay safe and protect others

Even though legal restrictions have been lifted, coronavirus hasn’t gone away and it’s still really important that we all do everything we can to stop the virus spreading.

  • You can help by continuing to wear face coverings in busy indoor places and on public transport.
  • It's safer to meet other people outside and if your indoors open windows to let in fresh air. 
  • Remember to wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer.
  • Getting tested and self-isolating when you’re advised to is vital.
  • Have your vaccine when you're invited to have it. 

Be cautious, be kind, be safe

Young boy mask coffee

Get Tested

Taking a test to check whether you have coronavirus is a simple way to stop the spread. There are two types of test:

  • You can either get a free kit and do the test yourself. It only takes a few minutes and you’ll find out straight away if you’ve tested positive for coronavirus.
  • This test is called a rapid Lateral Flow Test. You can order packs online or pick one up from places like libraries and chemists in your local area. Find out more about asymptomatic testing
  • The other sort of test is a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction) – if you test positive with a Lateral Flow Test or have coronavirus symptoms you must book a PCR test. Find out more about symptomatic testing.
Young group shopping

Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 don’t have symptoms but can still infect others, so regularly taking Lateral Flow Tests to check if you have coronavirus without knowing it is a good way to keep your friends, family and other people you meet safe.


If you’re 18 and over, you’ll have been invited to have a coronavirus vaccination. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic so please make sure you get yours. 

Once you’ve had your first vaccine it’s really important to get the second one so that you’re fully protected. This should normally be eight weeks after you’ve had the first.

Book directly with your doctor or book an appointment at any time through the national booking website or by calling 119. 

If you’re new to West Sussex and not registered with a doctor, you can still get the vaccine – just book online or by calling 119.

Walk-in clinics

If it’s been eight weeks since your first vaccine you can also get your second jab at a walk-in clinic and you won’t need to book, just turn up with some ID. 

There are walk-in clinics across West Sussex - find your nearest walk-in clinic.

16-17 year olds

You can get your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if you're aged 16 or 17 (some children aged 12 to 15 are also eligible to have a vaccine).

You'll be contacted by a local NHS service when it's your turn to get the vaccine to book your appointment. You'll be invited to a local NHS service such as a GP surgery.

You cannot book your appointment online.

Find out how you'll be contacted for your COVID-19 vaccination

Some walk-in COVID-19 vaccination sites are offering the vaccine to people aged 16 and 17. 

12-15 year olds

The government has recently announced that children aged 12-15 will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

The NHS is preparing to deliver a schools-based vaccination programme and parents and carers will receive further information from their school.

Find out about the 12-15 vaccination programme in Sussex

Public Health England has published a page of resources for young people and their families with answers to some frequently asked questions.

Covid-19 passports 

You might need to prove that you've been vaccinated if you're planning on travelling abroad, going clubbing or going to some events and festivals.

You can do this with The NHS COVID Pass by downloading the NHS App (this is different to the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app)

Find out how to download the app.

Young girls clubbing


Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Support

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health and emotional wellbeing has been huge. Many young people have had to put their lives on hold and have been unable to meet friends and see family. Education and social lives have been disrupted.

Whatever you’re feeling – whether that’s anxious, sad, angry, lonely or anything else – there’s lots of help available to get you through the tough times.

Find out more here (external link)


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