COVID-19 Vaccination in Children
Written by Courtney Coleman, Edited by Edward Chen
As of this writing, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has authorized Comirnaty, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccination, for children ages five to seventeen. To be fully vaccinated, two vaccinations are given twenty-one days apart, and in moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals ages twelve years or older, it is recommended that a third vaccine dosage be given a minimum of twenty-eight days following the second dosage.
While an adult dosage is given to those that are twelve years or older, children who are five through eleven years old receive a dosage that is one-third of an adult dosage. The vaccines for children ages five through eleven are also designed to have smaller needles.
Prior to receiving a vaccine, the CDC recommends that children not be administered pain medications. It is also encouraged that parents mention any allergies their child may have to the medical providers. Following vaccination, children are observed for fifteen to thirty minutes to make sure they do not experience any allergic reactions. Children may also remain seated or lying down for fifteen minutes following vaccine administration in order to prevent fainting.
It is normal for a child to experience some side effects as their immune system appropriately responds to the vaccine. Some side effects include swelling, pain, or redness at the injection site, and fatigue, headache, chills, fever, nausea, or muscle pain. These side effects should disappear within a few days, and some do not experience any side effects. Serious risks associated with this vaccine, such as anaphylaxis and myocarditis, are rare, and most experience the mild side effects mentioned above.
Following vaccination, children may return to their activities; however, it is still recommended that they wear a mask in areas where COVID-19 transmission rates are substantial or high, if they are immunocompromised, or they are around an immunocompromised or unvaccinated individual.
This post is not a substitute for professional advice. If you believe that you may be experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your primary care physician, or go to the nearest Emergency Room. Results from ongoing research and the current understanding of COVID-19 are constantly evolving. This post contains information that was last updated on October 30th, 2021.
Courtney Coleman is a master's degree candidate studying biology and a National Team member of Students vs. Pandemics.
Edward Chen is a master's student studying immunology. He's also the national president of Students vs. Pandemics. @EdwrdChen