Complete connected care℠ A Circle Health Member

Young Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccine – What You Need to Know

Covid vaccine age 5-11

CDC now recommends that children between the ages of 5 and 11 years receive the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine. 

COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reducing their risk of severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications. Getting your children vaccinated can help protect them against COVID-19, as well as reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission. Learn more from the CDC

Dr. Adam Weston is a board-certified infectious disease physician with Lowell General Hospital. Here he answers commonly asked questions about vaccines for kids age 5-11.

Pediatric Vaccine (kids age 5-11)

The vaccine’s safety was studied in a clinical trial for children ages 5 through 11 and to date no serious side effects have been reported in those who received the vaccine.

Yes. The vaccine appears to be as effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection as in adults.

In this age group, it is a smaller dose – about 1/3 of that for people 12 and up. But like teens and adults, kids will get two shots at least 21 days apart.

There is a lot of good data to show the benefit outweighs the risk, for a variety of reasons. Not only does it protect children as well as it does adults, but it also decreases the transmission to other people, reducing everyone’s overall risk and helps us all get our lives back to normal. Children have now taken on an increased role as vectors of the virus.

It’s the same with children and adults. If the child has had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a known component of these vaccines (which is very rare), consult your healthcare provider before getting the child vaccinated. But it is otherwise proven to be safe and effective.

Side effects are generally mild to moderate in severity. Most common are pain at injection site, fatigue, fever and headache. These are similar to the ones observed in those 12 years of age and older, occurred within two days after vaccination and resolved within one to two days. 

In trial data, these symptoms were less severe and less frequent than in teens and adults, possibly due to the smaller dose.

No. In fact, kids are far more likely to get myocarditis as a symptom of COVID. As a vaccine side effect, it’s extremely rare in kids – about 50 per million in young adults – and when it does happen is easily treated and generally does not result in long term complications. In general, myocarditis for any reason is less common in this younger age group and we suspect this may be true of vaccine related myocarditis as well.

Yes. We have a long history of kids getting lots of vaccines all at the same time.

What we are seeing is an increased risk of kids getting COVID over the general population and other age groups. People under 18 are currently accounting for about 1 of every 4 cases, and while teenagers comprise a majority of those infections, kids under 12 are still 1 of every 10 cases.

It is less dangerous than for older adults, but it’s still dangerous and some kids who do get it are experiencing long term complications. The American Society of Pediatrics has data showing that there have been more than 6 million infections in children, including 1.3 million since the beginning of September. We are also seeing more kids hospitalized, and in very rare cases, children have died.

There is evidence of additional benefit to getting the vaccine on top of the natural infection. Children just have to be off isolation and no longer infectious before getting the vaccine.

Some primary care providers are offering the vaccine to their patients. You can also check with your local pharmacy chain or visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ to find a vaccination site near you.

Keeping You Connected!

There are a number of ways to stay up to date with Lowell General Hospital. Learn more about the latest health updates on COVID-19, nutrition and wellness information available in our health library, and current hospital news and resources.