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Young girl receiving COVID-19 vaccine.

Get Immunized at CHKD: Children and COVID-19 Vaccines

Author: CHKD Medical Group, Dr. Douglas Mitchell
Published Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2021

By Dr. Douglas Mitchell, Norfolk Pediatrics

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech has been authorized for children ages 12 and older, you may be wondering whether you should sign your children up for one. We strongly recommend all eligible children and adults receive the vaccine as soon as possible, advice that is also supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Are pediatricians at CHKD offering the vaccine?

Yes. We have set up a central phone line to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine for your child. Call 757-668-2273 (CARE), to reserve an appointment time. Vaccines are also available at pharmacies and some community-based clinics. Call the Virginia Department of Health call center at 877-829-4682 (VAX-IN-VA), for information about those sites.

Why should my child receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Children have had less severe symptoms and reactions to COVID-19, but some have become ill enough to be hospitalized. In rare situations, children who have had COVID-19 infection experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), in which various parts of the body become inflamed.

Also, even if children don’t show symptoms, they can pass the virus to other more vulnerable people in their household or community. Vaccinating more children lessens the spread of the virus throughout the population, so children can return to in-person school and other events, and families can resume normal activities without masks.

Is the vaccine safe?

The FDA found the vaccine to be safe and effective in a clinical trial that included 2,260 participants in that age group, half of whom received the same vaccine dose given to adults. The other half got a placebo as a comparison group. The safety profile for those age 12 to 15 was found to be similar to 16- to 25-year-olds who have received the vaccine. We are aware of the reports of heart inflammation investigated by the CDC. So far, those reactions are not directly linked to the vaccine. We will continue to monitor the safety reports for this vaccine. At this time, we recommend the vaccine to all eligible individuals.

What are the expected side effects?

Common side effects of the vaccine includes injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Side effects were most common after the second dose. These symptoms will likely be gone within 48 hours.

Who shouldn’t get the vaccine?

The vaccine should not be given to someone who is sick with COVID-19 and still within their recommended isolation period. Precautions should be taken for people with a history of immediate allergic reaction to any other vaccine or injectable therapy.

What if my child needs other vaccinations?

A CDC advisory panel has determined that the COVID-19 vaccine can safely be administered at the same time as other vaccinations. During the pandemic, some children fell behind in getting vaccinations needed for school, summer camp, sports participation (and to stay healthy!), so this is a good time to get caught up on vaccines.

What about coronavirus vaccines for younger children?

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are each testing their vaccines in children as young as infants. Trials in younger children are expected to take longer because researchers must step down gradually in age and determine a safe and effective dose. Federal health officials say vaccination of that age group could begin by the end of the year or during the first quarter of 2022.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.