Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) vaccines are being rolled out with the most thorough vaccine safety program the United States has ever seen, and this is true of children’s vaccines, too.
After reviewing the data, regulators determined the vaccine can cause some side effects but is considered safe. In fact, it’s
According to the
Effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. Some kids won’t have any side effects at all, and severe reactions are rare.
Common side effects
Rare side effects
Myocarditis is a disease that causes inflammation of the heart muscles. It can cause chest pain or difficulty breathing and can be fatal in extreme cases.
Adolescents can experience myocarditis as a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine, or
As of the end of 2021, there were
Side effects for children are similar to the side effects that adults feel when getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
If your children have had other routine vaccines, in most cases, you can expect the COVID-19 vaccine to have side effects similar to those.
Not all children will have the same side effects. Some might only have a sore arm, while others might have a headache or fever. Some kids won’t have any side effects at all.
Children who are immunocompromised have a weakened immune system. They could have a genetic immunodeficiency disorder or could be taking medication that weakens their immune system, such as corticosteroids.
A child who’s immunocompromised has a
Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines usually go away in
To decrease the severity of side effects, the CDC
- Cooling. A clean and cool washcloth on the injection site can reduce pain. An ice pack can also be used to reduce swelling.
- Movement. Using or exercising the affected arm can help alleviate the soreness more quickly.
- Hydration. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, can reduce some vaccine side effects.
- Dressing lightly. Loose fitting clothes might be more comfortable if your child has a fever.
It’s common for children to be fearful of getting shots. Consider role-playing in advance with a doll, and allow your child to ask questions.
It can help if you explain to your child that it’s normal to feel a little scared, and then ask what they plan to do about it. You can use distractions such as books or calming music or agree on a reward like a trip to a park.
Should you give your child pain reliever medicine before or after vaccination to alleviate side effects?
Doctors still don’t know how these medications might alter the vaccine’s effectiveness. Consult with a doctor if your child is currently taking any medication to find out what’s recommended for your specific circumstances.
If your child is experiencing discomfort from the side effects after the shot, they can take OTC pain relievers as long as there’s no other medical condition that would prevent them from taking these normally. Check with a healthcare professional if you’re unsure.
It’s currently recommended all children ages 5 years and older get vaccinated against COVID-19. Right now, there are no approved vaccinations for children under the age of 5 years, but this is
If your child has
Some medical procedures or conditions could prevent your child from getting vaccinated right away.
Additionally, children who have received a diagnosis of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) must meet four conditions before they can be vaccinated:
- clinical recovery has been achieved and typical cardiac function returned
- it has been 90 days or more since they received their MIS-C diagnosis
- your child lives in an area of high or substantial community transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, or has an increased risk of exposure
- MIS-C onset occurred before receiving their COVID-19 vaccination
If you’re unsure whether your child should get a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s best to check with a doctor.
There’s lots of information about COVID-19 vaccines out there, and there are frequent updates. Here’s the other key points about vaccinations for kids.
Getting vaccinated can protect children from spreading SARS-CoV-2 to others
The virus SARS-CoV-2, much like the bacteria that cause strep throat and pink eye, can be spread easily by children,
As SARS-CoV-2 spreads, it has more chances to develop in people who might be at high risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms. This might include other children as well as their family members, such as grandparents. As SARS-CoV-2 spreads, it also has more chances to mutate into a new variant.
Children’s COVID-19 vaccines are given at different doses than adult vaccines
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, called Comirnaty, is the only vaccine
The dose for everyone ages 12 years and older is 30 mg. For kids younger than 12 years old, the dose is only 10 mg.
Booster shots are only recommended for people ages 13 years and older.
COVID-19 vaccines are being monitored for safety with the most comprehensive vaccine safety monitoring program in U.S. history.
The CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are continuing to monitor vaccines with both existing and new reporting systems. You can participate by reporting your child’s vaccine side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
The CDC recommends that all children ages 5 years and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.
You can expect your child to have some mild side effects, but in most cases, they’ll be similar to those of other routine vaccinations. Severe side effects are rare.
Not only can the vaccine prevent your child from developing COVID-19, but it can also prevent them from spreading it to people who are at a high risk of severe complications or death from the disease. Vaccinating also lowers the risk of severe complications, such as serious illness or hospitalization, if your child does develop COVID-19.
If you have specific concerns for your child, talk with a doctor. If you’re ready to schedule your child’s vaccination, you can search online for a healthcare professional to administer it.