The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many lives, but with the wide availability of vaccinations, people who choose to be vaccinated can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For children, however, as many schools have returned to in-person learning, there remains a concern about the virus spreading. But is the vaccine safe for children? Is it even effective for them?
In this article, we’ll answer those questions and learn reasons why children and teens should be vaccinated, we will address reasons to get children vaccinated against COVID-19, if the vaccine is safe, and learn about the side effects parents should expect to see after receiving a dose.
Why Should Parents Get Their Children Vaccinated?
As parents and guardians decide what’s best for their children, there are a few things to consider when it comes to whether children and teens should be vaccinated against COVID-19.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “Vaccines are now widely available to everyone five years and older” to help protect against COVID-19. In the US alone, the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines (and the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine) has encouraged many many children and teens to return to the classroom.
The CDC describes a few primary benefits of children and teens getting vaccinated as follows:
- Less severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19
- Uninterrupted enrollment in school
- Full participation in group activities, sports, or play dates
The CDC further emphasizes the need for vaccination by observing that nearly 50% of children “hospitalized with COVID-19 have no underlying conditions.” This means child vaccinations are an effective method of prevention and reducing the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
Moreover, the COVID-19 vaccine is also effective against the Delta variant and other variants, the CDC explains. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to the infection with the Omicron variant.
At the end of the day, vaccination is a personal choice, and some people remain hesitant about it because a question remains.
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Children?
As the COVID-19 vaccines rolled out at the start of 2021, use for children was not yet authorized. But in October of 2021, the FDA authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. This authorization was based on two things:
- 1 A study of 3,100 children who received the vaccine without any complication
- 2 The vaccine’s 90.7% effective rate in preventing COVID-19 in children
The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses, 3-8 weeks apart. In addition to the shots, a booster is also recommended for to enhance the body’s defense against the virus.
On the subject of booster doses, the CDC recommends “everyone ages 12 years and older […] get 1 booster after their first set. People 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may receive two boosters.”
So is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children? Yes! Parents who have remaining concerns should ask a provider for more information. A concern some parents may have is what side effects have been observed from the vaccine.
What Are The Side Effects
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most commonly reported side effects from the Pfizer vaccine include but are not limited to,
- Pain, redness or swelling of the injection site
- Nausea and vomiting
The Mayo Clinic further went on to explain, “Children have side effects within 2 days after the vaccination and lasts 1 to 3 days.”
“If the side effects are worrying or do not seem to be going away after a few days,” the CDC recommends contacting a doctor right away. Thankfully side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are often mild, but since they’re common, so it’s good to know what to expect
How We Can Help
The United States continues to battle COVID-19, but vaccinations are our greatest defense. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for your child, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today!