The NHS England, Northern Ireland and Scotland is now recommending that children aged 5 to 11 who are considered at higher risk of serious complications of COVID-19, or who live in the same household as an immunosuppressed person, are offered two paediatric doses (10 mcg of Pfizer BioNTech) of the vaccine at least eight weeks apart. In Wales, all children aged 5-11 are now being offered the vaccine.

We have received reports that some families of children aged 5-11 with a diagnosed thyroid disorder have received a letter from their GP inviting their child/ren for their COVID-19 vaccination. The reason given in the letter is that their child/ren is/are ‘immunosuppressed.’

We understand that their child/ren being classed as ‘immunosuppressed’ is causing concern and confusion among some parents and carers.

We can confirm that having a thyroid disorder does not in itself mean patients are immunocompromised.  Patients who are classified as having a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) are typically those with conditions such as leukaemia, HIV and AIDS, or who are on medicines such as high-dose steroids, immunomodulatory drugs for rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, cancer chemotherapy or following organ transplantation.

The UK Health Security’s Green Book, Chapter 14a provides a full list of clinical and other risk groups for children and young people aged 5-15 (see table 4, p 22).

UK Health Security’s Green Book

We note the ‘Green Book’ states children with certain endocrine disorders, including diabetes mellitus, Addison’s and hypopituitary syndrome, will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. We would like to clarify that ‘hypopituitary syndrome’ is not the same as congenital hypothyroidism or acquired thyroid disorders.

If you have received such a letter and it is not clear why your child/ren has been called for their vaccination, we recommend you contact your GP surgery to seek further clarification. The following links/information may be helpful in your discussion with them.

JCVI statement on COVID-19 vaccination of children and young people 22 December 2021 

BTF COVID-19 resources 

BTF thyroid disorders in children

Information on hypopituitarism from the Pituitary Foundation


This statement has been endorsed by the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BSPED).


Date of issue: 23 February 2022