What parents need to know about COVID-19 vaccination for children 12+
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized in the United States for ages 12 to 15. Here’s everything you need to know to feel confident scheduling your child’s vaccine.
Yes, COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the United States are safe. The vaccines go through the same testing and clinical trials as all vaccines and no serious safety concerns have been identified.
What are the benefits of vaccinating children?
While most children are at lower risk for severe illness from COVID-19, there are still many unknown long-term effects. It is also possible for children infected with COVID-19 to become seriously ill or worse. Vaccination also allows for a safe return to activities and normal life.
- Prevent the risk of serious illness including Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
- Eliminate the need to quarantine if your child is exposed to COVID-19 at school or elsewhere
- Keep your child from missing sporting events or extracurricular activities after exposure
- Prevent long-term effects of COVID-19
- Avoid passing COVID-19 infection to family members and others at high risk for severe illness
How effective are COVID-19 vaccines in children ages 12-15?
Clinical trials show COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in children ages 12-15. In fact, data shows the immune response for children was better than trial participants ages 16-25, with no COVID cases in the vaccinated group
What side effects are common in children?
Side effects in children ages 12-15 were like those in ages 16-25. The most common side effects include:
- Pain at the injection site
- Fatigue (feeling tired)
Will kids get the same dose of the vaccines as adults?
For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 12 to 15-year-olds will receive the same dosing as adults. Clinical trials tested the adult dose and two smaller doses to determine safety and efficacy. This dose was proven safe and shown to be most effective for this age group.
There is no clinical evidence to suggest COVID-19 vaccines have effects on puberty or fertility.
Will COVID-19 vaccines be required by schools?
It will be up to each state’s government to decide whether a COVID-19 vaccine is required for school entry. Many colleges and universities in the U.S. have announced they will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Are other countries giving COVID-19 vaccines to children?
Yes. Canada’s health department authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age on May 5, 2021.
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This article is part of a series of sponsored articles by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center