Experts Weigh In On the Most Commonly Asked Questions About the Covid Vaccine for Kids

On Tuesday October 26, 2021, the FDA spent the day reviewing the data about Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. They had to decide if the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks for this age group.

Ultimately, the FDA voted yes, to approve the vaccine for emergency use authorization (EUA), although they didn’t feel that all children in the 5-11 age group necessarily needed to be vaccinated. However, they wanted the vaccine to be available for any parents who wanted to get their children vaccinated.

On Tuesday November 2, 2021, it was the CDC’s turn to spend the day reviewing the data about Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Ultimately, the CDC also voted to approve the vaccine.

In anticipation of the vaccine’s approval, the child-size vaccine was already on it’s way to vaccination locations across the country. In fact, we know some people who were able to get their children vaccinated today, one day after the vaccine was approved.

If you’re not sure if the Covid-19 vaccine is right for your children, it might help to hear what the experts have to say about some common questions. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen weighed in to answer some common questions. Here is some of her advice as well as what is advised by the CDC and FDA.

What’s the difference between the Covid-19 vaccine for ages 5-11 and for ages 12+?

Dr. Wen explained that the Pfizer vaccine approved for ages 12+ is 30ml, while the child-size dose is one-third that size at 10ml. Otherwise, the vaccination process is similar. Children will be considered fully vaccinated after they get 2 doses of the vaccine spaced as least 21 days apart and after 2 weeks have passed since the second dose. That means that it’s possible for children to be fully vaccinated before the holidays.

If you have an 11-year-old child, should you wait until the child turns 12 before getting him or her vaccinated?

According to the CDC, the answer is no. You should go ahead and get your child vaccinated. If the child gets the first dose when he or she is 11, it will be 10ml. If he or she turns 12 by the time he or she gets the second dose, it will be 30ml, and that’s ok.

What kinds of side-effects will children experience?

The CDC explains that the side effects are similar to those in older children and adults including fatigue, muscle pain, fever, and pain at the injection site. The FDA noted that although children who participated in the trial did not experience myocarditis as a side effect, it’s important to note that only several thousand children participated in the trial. It is possible that this could be a rare side effect as seen in older children and young adults.

Can a child get the Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?

The answer is yes. The CDC took this into consideration, and if more than one vaccine is administered, like the flu shot or another regularly scheduled vaccine, the vaccines will be given in different limbs or in different areas of the same limb.

Should children with food allergies get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Dr. Wen explained that unlike other vaccines, the Covid-19 vaccine does not contain egg products. That means that if a child had an allergic reaction to another vaccine, it does not mean that the child will have an allergic reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine. It is a good idea to talk to your pediatrician, who knows your child’s medical history, if you have any concerns about specific ingredients.

Do healthy kids or kids who have already recovered from Covid-19 need to get vaccinated?

While two-thirds of children who are hospitalized for Covid-19 have underlying medical conditions, one-third of children do not. That means that even healthy children can have a serious case of Covid-19. According to the CDC, people who have recovered from Covid-19 should still get vaccinated.

Where can children get vaccinated?

Pharmacies across the country will have the Covid-19 vaccine available for children. In addition, your pediatrician’s office may also have the vaccine on hand, and some schools will even be setting up vaccination clinics.

Do you plan to get your children vaccinated for Covid-19? What questions do you have about the Covid-19 vaccine?