December 1, 2021 — By Wendy Sachs
At the time we are writing this- Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 has been approved with Moderna expected soon to follow. It is an important decision to vaccinate a child so we wanted to share a little information we gathered from the CDC and other trusted sources to help out. As always, please check with your child’s primary care doctor as the ultimate source of information.
Even if you or your children are vaccinated, you should still continue to mask whenever you are in places that are public and high risk. This includes indoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. This is likely to mean that children should still wear masks to school for the time being.
Even though the dosage is lower for children aged 5-11 (about 1/3 of the size of the adult dosage), side effects are still possible after vaccination. These can include a low grade fever, fatigue, chills, headache and pain and swelling at injection site. Note: It is not recommended that you give pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol BEFORE the injection to prevent side effects as it may interfere with the antibody response to the first dose of the vaccine. You may be able to use these post injection, just check with your doctor.
Just like adults, the kids’ vaccine is administered in 2 shots. Kids should be sure to get both shots to be protected. It takes time to build up the immunity so the vaccine is considered to be fully protected 2 weeks post your second injection. (or one week post Johnson and Johnson shot if approved)
Unlike many medications, COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination. This means that even if your 11 year old is approximately the height or weight of an adult, they should still get the child shot.
You can still get COVID-19 even if you are fully vaccinated. It is much more likely to result in a COVID-19 case that is far more mild than those without the vaccine. However, because you could have a breakthrough case, you or your child should always be tested if you haven’t had close contact with someone who is positive. You should get tested 5-7 days post exposure.
Experts Agree – It’s Safe
Experts from the CDC, Johns Hopkins, the FDA and more all agree that the vaccine is safe and important for all who are medically able to get. Not only will it help prevent serious cases of coronavirus for you and your family, it also will help stop the spread and emergence of new variants.
Contact your pediatrician to get an appointment for your child or you can try local drug stores. Unlike the adult vaccine, the child dosage roll out focused on pediatricians and family doctors first. You can also visit vaccines.gov for more options.
Vaccines for very young children, ages 6 months to 4 years, aren’t expected until 2022. Trials are underway.