The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for younger children, and if you’re a parent, you probably have some questions. We’ve gathered key facts to help you as you consider whether to vaccinate your child against COVID-19.
Children as young as five years old can receive the Pfizer vaccine under emergency use authorization. For children age 12 to 17, the adult dose is administered. With children who are five to 11 years old, just one-third the dose is needed. This is due to the strength of children’s immune systems.
The vaccination process
Like adults, children need to receive two doses of the vaccine 21 days apart to be considered fully vaccinated. Children tend to experience the same side effects as adults do: a mild fever, muscle or joint aches, chills, a headache or fatigue. Kids might feel pain or discomfort at the injection site, or they might see some redness or swelling in the upper arm where the shot was given. These symptoms usually go away within one to two days.
Weighing the risks and benefits
When deciding whether to vaccinate a child against COVID-19, parents should consider the risks and benefits of the vaccine compared to the risks of COVID-19 illness.
Following are several things to consider.
- People who are fully vaccinated – both children and adults – not only have a lower risk of getting COVID-19, they’re also less likely to become severely ill and need hospitalization.
- While we’ve seen that children have a lower risk of needing hospitalization for COVID-19 than adults, some children have experienced serious illness.
- In addition to protecting the child, vaccination helps protect the people around them, such as grandparents or other loved ones who may be at greater risk from COVID-19.
- Children with chronic conditions have a greater risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19.
- If you child has recovered from COVID-19 illness, experts say they do have some protection. What’s not yet clear is how long that protection lasts. Being vaccinated is a safer way to gain protection against severe COVID-19 illness.
If you have questions, your child’s health care provider can discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with you.
Where to get vaccinated
Select Bon Secours providers in the Richmond, VA, area are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to their pediatric patients. If your child has a Bon Secours primary care provider in the Richmond area, please call 866-624-0366 to schedule an appointment.
In other markets, please schedule your child’s COVID-19 vaccination through your local health department or retail pharmacy.
Learn more about our COVID-19 Vaccine efforts.