On October 29, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)approved the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 5-11. There has been a lot of hesitancy and controversy surrounding this decision. Like other immunizations, there is the possibility of side effects. After the FDA initially approved children aged5-11 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, children have already been reported with side effects, which will be further discussed in this article.
Currently, only the Pfizer-Biotech (known commonly as Pfizer) vaccine has been approved for use with children aged 5-11. As for now, the Moderna vaccine is only for individuals aged 12 and older. In time, it is likely that the Moderna and other vaccine brands will be approved for use in children (5-11 years of age). In addition, Pfizer is exploring potential vaccine trials for children 6 months to 5 years of age. Parents’ primary concerns lie with perceived notions of side effects.
According to Medical News Today, 2/3 of parents with children ages 5-11 are concerned with their children receiving the vaccine . This fear stems from a lack of knowledge pertaining to long-term effects of the vaccine. The most common side effects reported by children are headaches, chills, pain at the immunization site, fever, nausea, and decreased appetite . These side effects are significantly milder compared to the side effects experienced by vaccinated adults. Although highly unlikely, there is a small chance of children being hospitalized after vaccination.
Furthermore, the vaccine has been reported to be 90.7% effective with children aged 5-11 . Children overall have less severe reactions towards COVID-19 in general. It is crucial for them to receive the vaccine, as this will limit the spread of the virus. The process of the vaccine consists of two separate doses with a three-week waiting period in between doses. The decision of having one’s children receive the vaccine is ultimately up to the parent(s)and legal guardians of the child, however, it is highly recommended by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)to get children vaccinated. Through an increased vaccination rate, we can decrease the proliferation of the virus.
1.“Covid-19 Vaccines for Children: Are They Safe?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-vaccines-for-children-what-are-the-side-effects#What-are-children-going-to-get?.
2.Commissioner, Office of the. “FDA Authorizes Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 29 Oct. 2021, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-children-5-through-11-years-age.
3.“Covid-19 Vaccines for Kids: What You Need to Know.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Nov. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/covid-19-vaccines-for-kids/art-20513332.
Author Samantha Hampton
Samantha is a Human Biology major at the University of California, Merced and is a member of the Pre-Health Shadowing Leadership Team in the role of Chief Content Creator.