Should your child get a COVID-19 vaccine?
There’s a new vaccine to add to the list recommended for children. The CDC now recommends children ages five and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available in two age-appropriate doses. Kids ages five to 11 get a smaller dose of the COVID-19 vaccine given with a smaller needle. Kids 12 years and older can have the same vaccine dose as adults.
Benefits of your child getting vaccinated
The vaccine has many benefits for your child and your family. When your child gets the COVID-19 vaccine, it can:
- Help prevent them from getting sick with COVID-19
- Keep your child from getting very sick if they do get COVID-19
- Help them safely take part in school, sports and other activities
- Protect other family members who can’t get vaccinated or at a higher risk of getting sick
Is the vaccine safe for kids?
Before COVID-19 vaccinations were authorized for children, clinical trials studied their safety in children. After reviewing the findings, the CDC concluded that the benefits far outweigh the risks. And the vaccines continue to be monitored by the most intense safety program in U.S. history. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
How to prepare your child
Take these steps to prepare yourself and your child for their vaccine:
- Talk with your child about what they can expect. Getting a COVID-19 vaccination will be like getting other routine shots. After getting their shot in their arm, your child will be monitored for 15 minutes before heading home.
- Tell your health care professional if your child has any allergies.
- Have your child sit or lie down to be more comfortable and prevent fainting.
- Prepare for potential side effects. While their body builds immunity, your child may have side effects like pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. They may also experience chills, headache, fever, muscle pain, nausea or tiredness which should go away in a couple of days. Ask your provider for advice on medications and other steps you can take to make your child more comfortable.