The CDC and FDA has recently approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 years old. Families have been waiting patiently to vaccinate their younger children, and while trials show that the kids vaccine is both safe and effective, parents may still have questions before making the decision to vaccinate their younger children.
Below, Families Together Medical Director and Pediatrician, Dr. Lowell Gordon answers common questions parents might have regarding the Pfizer vaccine for kids.
Is the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine safe for my child?
Yes, the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 years old has been researched, tested and granted emergency approval by the CDC and FDA. It is also recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
After undergoing trials in the 5-11 year old age group, Pfizer reported that the vaccine was “safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses” in the age group. The antibody responses in the participants were comparable to those recorded in a previous Pfizer-BioNTech study in people 16 to 25 years of age immunized with the 30 microgram doses. The 10 microgram dose was carefully selected as the preferred dose for safety and tolerability in children 5-11 years of age.
What is the difference between the kid vaccine and the already approved Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine?
While the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine remains a 2-dose vaccine for all age groups, the main difference between the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 and the standard Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is the dosage. The Pfizer vaccine for the 5-11 year-old category is 10 micrograms per dose, while the one vaccine for those 12 and up is 30 micrograms per dose. This is due to the weight of children. Compared to the standard Pfizer Covid -19 vaccine, children ages 5 -11 are receiving 1/3 of the dose received by an adult or teen.
What side effects should my child expect?
Some children may have no side effects! However, the most common side effects may include fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. Most side effects resolve themselves within a couple of days. In addition, redness and swelling at the injection site may occur. This is normal as long as it does not increase in size after 24 hours. If there are any persisting symptoms, concerns, or questions, parents may contact or take their children to see their primary care provider.
Is the first dose different from the second one?
No, the second vaccine is the same as the first.
However, more side effects may be felt after the second shot because the body’s immune cells created by the first shot are alert and ready to respond more quickly and more aggressively the second time around. This tells us that the vaccine is working and that the body is making antibodies as intended.
How can parents best support children who experience side effects or are nervous about getting the Covid-19 vaccine?
While being nervous is a normal feeling, it is important for parents to remain calm and always communicate in a clear and honest manner with their children. When it comes to side effects, parents know their kids best. If the child experiences side effects, parents may give Tylenol to help minimize the symptoms. If the child gets a fever, dressing lightly and drinking plenty of fluids can also help relieve symptoms.
To minimize pain at the injection site, parents may apply a clean, cool washcloth at the injection site. This can minimize the child’s stress and discomfort. Always remember to communicate any concerns to your doctor and ask for the tools you need to make all vaccine visits as smooth as possible.
Families Together of Orange County offers child and adult Covid-19 vaccines with a doctor Monday- Friday from 9:00 am- 5:30pm at no cost to you. No appointment is necessary for any of our locations in Tustin, Garden Grove or our mobile units. Boosters are also available at both of our locations and mobile units. For more information, visit our Covid-19 page or call (714) 665-9890.