WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The CDC on Wednesday accepted the recommendation of their advisory panel to allow the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 12.
The Pfizer vaccine is the first to be approved in the U.S. for children this young. Children will need a second shot of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after their first shot.
Here are five things that parents and children should know about getting the vaccine:
1. Why should my child get the shot?
Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, health experts say children can still get sick and can spread the virus to others.
The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone 12 years of age and older to help protect against the virus. This is why experts say parents should have their child get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
Officials said the vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in adolescents.
2. Where can I get the shot?
Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have updated their scheduling systems to include the younger age group. Some do not require appointments and allow you to walk in to get the vaccine. Check what vaccine is available at your local pharmacy.
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County is also planning to vaccinate this younger age group, working with the School District of Palm Beach County to plan a strategy to reach them.
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3. What are the side effects?
Much like adults, the vaccine can have side effects in children as well. These are normal signs that the body is building protection against the virus.
Side effects include pain, redness and swelling in the arm.
Throughout the rest of your body, a child may feel:
- Pain, redness or swelling where you got the shot
- Muscle pain
The CDC said these side effects may affect a child's ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
4. How can I prepare my child for the shot?
The CDC offers the advice below to parents before their child gets the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Get tips for how to support your child before, during and after the visit
- Talk to your child before the visit about what to expect
- Tell the doctor or nurse if your child has any allergies to any ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine
- Comfort your child during the appointment
- To prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting, your child should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given
- After your child's shot, you will be asked to stay for 15 to 30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment
5. Will there be any other COVID-19 vaccines for children?
Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are working on separate trials to have their vaccines approved for use in the U.S.
Moderna said in March they expected to enroll 6,750 healthy children who were less than 12 years of age for their vaccine trials.
Johnson & Johnson announced in April the expansion of an ongoing trial to include adolescents 12-17 years of age.