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COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 and under: What to know

The COVID-19 vaccine could be available for children ages 5-11 as early as November. The FDA is currently considering Pfizer’s request to approve their version of the vaccine for the young age group. Currently vaccines are available, and recommended, for most everyone ages 12 and up.

With this come questions from parents about safety and whether their child should be vaccinated. While you should always consult your pediatrician or primary care provider, Dr. Amanda Furr, Community Health Network pediatrician, has answers to some of the most common questions:

Q: The FDA is considering approving a COVID vaccine for kids ages 5-12. If approved, should parents get their children vaccinated?

A: As long as there is no medical condition that would prevent them from getting the vaccine, children age 5-12 should receive their vaccination against COVID if it is approved. Always check with your pediatrician.

Q: Are the side effects the same as with the adult version?

A: The side effects are very similar and in many cases milder than what was seen in adults receiving the COVID vaccination. Common side effects include headache, muscle aches, and low-grade fever most of which resolved in 24-48 hours.

 Q: What if the child is afraid of needles or apprehensive about getting the shot?

A: This is a normal fear of most children (and some adults). As healthcare professionals, we can help make the process as quick and easy as possible. Sometimes a simple description of the steps of getting a shot will alleviate the anxiety of the unknown. It is also important to explain that we are giving the vaccine to help keep them healthy.

Q: This is also flu season, should my child get both the COVID and flu vaccine?

A: Flu vaccine is recommended for children ages 6 months and older. If a child qualifies for both they should receive both. According to current CDC guidelines, both the flu and COVID vaccines can be given at the same time. Official guidance for ages 5-11 will be released upon approval.

Q: Is it ok if my child doesn’t get the COVID vaccine?

A: At this time the COVID vaccine is not required for children in Indiana. The COVID vaccine has been proven to be highly effective in preventing serious illness and death in older children and adults. The vaccine studies in ages 5-11 showed an impressive reduction in the number of vaccinated children that developed COVID with symptoms. If approved, parents should strongly consider vaccinating their child to help prevent illness, reduce days missed from school, and slow the spread of the virus.

Q: How is Community preparing for vaccinations for children?

A: We currently have vaccinations available for ages 12 and older. Our practices and vaccination sites are willing and able to provide these vaccination to children 5-11 when approved and available.

Read more about the steps FDA is taking to ensure safety of vaccine for children ages 5- 11:

FDA Will Follow The Science On COVID-19 Vaccines For Young Children | FDA

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