COVID-19 Vaccines for Children 5-11 Years Old: What Parents Need to Know

Currently, only the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine is now authorized for use in children 5 to 11 years old.

What Parents Need to Know

Why should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Getting yourself and your child vaccinated are important steps to protect against infection and help us get back to normal. Having your child vaccinated can help:

  • Protect your child from severe COVID-19 and potential hospitalization.
  • Protect family members and friends by stopping the spread of the virus.
  • Keep them in school and return to traditional sports and other extracurricular activities.
  • Eliminate mask-wearing requirements.
  • Reduce the spread of the virus within the community.

How is the vaccine for children different from the one used for people ages 12 and up?

Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for children ages 5 to 11 years old. The dose is one-third the dose of the vaccine for those 12 and older. The dose is lower because in clinical trials it was determined that children who received the smaller dose had just as effective a response while having fewer side effects.

How do we know the vaccines for children ages 5-11 are safe?

In a clinical trial of more than 2000 children ages 5 to 11 years old, it was found that the vaccine was over 90% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19. The trial also showed that these children had similar side effects as adults who receive the vaccine.

What are the side effects of the vaccine for children?

The side effects may include arm pain where the shot is given, fever, chills, and joint and muscle pain. These symptoms usually are better within 24 to 48 hours. Some people don’t have any side effects.

Why do younger children need this vaccine?

While many children have mild symptoms when they have COVID-19, a small percentage of children do require more serious medical care, including the potential to be admitted to the hospital or an intensive care unit. The benefits of the vaccine for younger children outweigh the risks. While no vaccine is 100% effective, the COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be 90% effective in preventing both mild and severe infection in those who are fully vaccinated.

My child had COVID-19. Do they still need to be vaccinated?

It’s not clear how long COVID-19 antibodies stay in the body and protect us from the virus. Also, it’s possible to get COVID-19 again, so it’s important for your child to be vaccinated even if they had COVID-19.

How is the vaccine for younger children given?

Children will receive the vaccine shot in two doses given three weeks apart.

What should I do if I still have questions about my child getting the vaccine?

Your child’s doctor can help you make the right decision for your child. You can also click here for more information.

How soon after the vaccine will my child build immunity? 

Your child will gain full immunity approximately two weeks after their second dose.

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