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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: COVID Vaccines for Children and Teens

| November 10, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: COVID Vaccines for Children and Teens

November 10, 2021

Q: Why should my child get a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.

Authorized For Pfizer-BioNTech Moderna J&J/Janssen
4 years and under No No No
5-11 years old Yes No No
12-17 years old Yes No No
18 years and older Yes Yes Yes

Although children are at a lower risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can:

  • Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Get very sick from COVID-19
  • Have both short and long-term health complications from COVID-19
  • Spread COVID-19 to others

Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with children without underlying medical conditions. Children who get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can also develop serious complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) — a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect children ages 5 years and older from getting COVID-19.

  • Vaccinating children can help protect family members, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if they are infected.
  • Vaccination can also help keep children from getting seriously sick if they do get COVID-19.
  • Vaccinating children ages 5 years and older can help keep them in school and help them safely participate in sports, playdates, and other group activities.

For more information on the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in children, review Pfizer pediatric data in this New England Journal of Medicine article.

Q. What are the risks of a COVID-19 vaccine for my child?

A. According to the CDC, the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for children outweigh the known and potential risks.

  • Serious health events after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.
  • Cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination of children ages 12–17 years. These reactions are rare; in one study, the risk of myocarditis after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech in the week following vaccination was around 54 cases per million doses administered to males ages 12–17 years.
  • A severe allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis, may happen after any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, but is rare.

For more information on the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in children, review Pfizer pediatric data in this New England Journal of Medicine article.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

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