THE COVID-19 VACCINE FOR CHILDREN AGES 5-11: FAQS FOR PARENTS

White protective mask on young patientRise and Shine wrote on 11/03/21 that now that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children ages 5-11, you have questions about the vaccine and whether it’s safe for your child. To help you, we’ve asked our experts to answer some frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child?

Pfizer has studied its vaccine in clinical trials. These studies, which have enrolled thousands of children, will tell us about side effects experienced by the children in this study and, importantly, tell us how the frequency of these symptoms compares to those in children who received a saline placebo injection. As with the trials of these vaccines that have been conducted in adults, safety is a top priority, and participants in the study are asked about any new symptoms daily for the first week after each vaccine dose and then asked about any more serious new illnesses or health problems for 2 years after vaccination.

What are the vaccine’s side effects, and how can I treat them?

Common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Most of the time, these side effects will go away in a few days.

Pain at the injection site (where the shot went into the arm) was the most common reaction, with about 3/4 of vaccine recipients experiencing it. Most children said this pain was mild. This was seen after the first and second doses.

If your child feels pain or discomfort in the spot where they got their COVID‑19 vaccine, try placing a cool, wet washcloth on the area. You can also give them pain or fever-reducing medications following vaccination.

It is not recommended that you give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever before vaccination to prevent side effects.

Should I call my child’s pediatrician about any COVID‑19 vaccine side effects?

Contact your child’s health care provider if:

  • The redness or pain at the injection site gets worse after 24 hours
  • Their side effects are worrying you or do not go away after a few days

Seek immediate medical attention if you think your child is having a severe allergic reaction to the COVID‑19 vaccine. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include rapid heartbeat, swelling of the throat, rash, or hives. This reaction is extremely rare.

 

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