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What To Know After Receiving a COVID-19 Vaccine for Younger Adolescents

As the science related to the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, so do the recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please ensure you are adhering to the latest public health and safety measures and monitoring recommendations from the CDC.

What-To-Know-After-Receiving-Covid-Adolescents

What age groups are eligible for the vaccine?

  • The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. The FDA has given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization to use in children ages 5-15 years old and full approval for use in people ages 16 years and older. Additionally, the FDA has given full approval to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use in individuals 18 years and up.

Are children eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots?

  • Children ages 12-17 are currently eligible for a Pfizer BioNTech COVID booster five months after completing their initial COVID-19 vaccination series.
  • Moderate to severely immunocompromised children ages 5-11 are eligible to receive an additional primary shot of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second shot.
  • Immunocompromised children ages 12+ are eligible for a second booster four months after the third primary shot.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Choosing Your COVID-19 Booster Shot and Food and Drug Administration COVID-19 Update

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How effective is the Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11?

  • CDC data shows that COVID-19 vaccination continues to protect 5–17 year-olds against severe outcomes from COVID-19, including hospitalizations and long-term complications. The vaccines are safe, and the CDC recommends that all eligible children and adolescents remain up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, including a booster dose for everyone ages 12 and older.

Sources: Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines for Children (Updated November 22, 2021) FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age (October 29, 2021)

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Do kids 12-15 get the same dosage as adults?

  • Yes, kids 12–15 receive the same vaccine and the same dosage as older teens and adults, however, the timing of the first two doses of the vaccines may be different for some. The CDC’s updated guidance for young and healthy individuals, advises that, for those aged 12-39— especially males—it may be better to allow eight weeks between the first and second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The CDC continues to recommend 3- and 4-week intervals between the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for those children and young adults (aged-12-39) who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is administered in two doses, given three weeks apart.
  • The dosage for children 5 through 11 years of age is one-third the amount given to adults and children over 12. While the dosage is lower, like the vaccine for those 12 and older, it is administered as a two-dose series, 3 weeks apart.

Source: Centers for Disease Prevention and Control: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens (Updated January 11, 2022)

Are the vaccines safe?

  • Yes. All authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are safe, effective, and help protect you from getting COVID-19. These vaccines can also help keep you from severe illness if you are infected by COVID-19.
  • Millions of people in the United States have safely received COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo safety monitoring, including both well-established and new safety monitoring systems designed to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Sources: CDC – Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines (Updated January 10, 2022)

Are the vaccines safe?

  • Yes. All authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are safe, effective, and help protect you from getting COVID-19. These vaccines can also help keep you from severe illness if you are infected by COVID-19.
  • Millions of people in the United States have safely received COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo safety monitoring, including both well-established and new safety monitoring systems designed to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Sources: CDC – Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines (Updated January 10, 2022)

Why is it important to vaccinate children?

  • COVID-19 vaccines help protect kids from getting COVID-19 and help prevent them from getting very ill if they do get COVID-19.
  • With the emergence of variants like Omicron and Delta, the number of COVID-19 cases among U.S. children increased significantly.
    • While the risk of serious outcomes is lower in children than it is for adults, nearly 12.8 million children between the ages 5 through 11 have tested positive for COVID-19 with thousands requiring hospitalization and some resulting in death.
  • While most children who become infected with the COVID-19 virus experience only a mild illness, in some rare instances children have developed a more serious condition – multisystem inflammatory syndrome – that appears to be related to COVID-19 illness. With treatment, most children eventually get better, but in some cases, symptoms worsen quickly and can be fatal.III
  • Vaccinating kids against COVID-19 also plays a role in protecting the health of the broader community – every child or adult infected with the coronavirus presents an opportunity for the virus to mutate and create a variant; fewer overall infections mean there is less of a chance for dangerous variants.III
  • Widespread vaccination is important to help prevent both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases and limit the spread of the virus, protecting themselves and those around them.
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  • Once teens and adolescents are vaccinated, they can safely return to school and social activities and parents and caregivers can have more peace of mind knowing their family is protected.


I Source: American Academy of Pediatrics – Children and COVID-19 State Level Data (Updated January 10, 2022)
IISource: CDC – COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens (Updated January 11, 2022)
IIISource: CDC – For Parents: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 (Updated September 10, 2021)
IVSource: Johns Hopkins Medicine – COVID-19 Vaccine: What Parents Need to Know (Updated January 10, 2022)

Do kids experience post-vaccination side effects?

  • While some may not have any side effects at all, kids can experience post vaccination side effects similar to those felt by adults, which most often include pain, redness and swelling on the arm where they received the shot. Other side effects can include tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.
  • These are all normal signs that their body is building protection and should go away in a few days.
  • Side effects from the second shot may be more intense than those experienced after the first shot. Contact your child’s healthcare provider if redness or tenderness at the vaccination site gets worse after 24 hours and / or if side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be abating after a few days.
  • The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination far outweigh any potential side effects
  • You can use v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide health check-ins after your child receives a COVID-19 vaccination to report any side effects. V-safe will also remind you about your child’s second dose.

Source: CDC – COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens (Updated January 11, 2020)

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Will the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine give my child COVID-19?

  • No. None of the authorized or approved COVID-19 contain SARS-CoV-2 virus, so they cannot give you COVID-19.
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Can COVID-19 vaccines affect the heart?

  • While extremely rare, there have been reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents, young males in particular, within several days after COVID-19 vaccination.
  • The CDC’s latest guidance, which applies to young and healthy individuals, advises that, for those aged 12-39—especially males—it may be better to allow eight weeks between the first and second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. However, the CDC continues to recommend 3-and 4-week intervals between the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for those in this age group who may be moderately to severely immunocompromised, and all others who are eligible to receive a booster.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility or menstruation?

  • There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility or reproductive capabilities in adulthood.
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine encourages everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including those who hope to become pregnant in the future.

Source: Mayo Clinic – Covid-19 Vaccines for kids: What you need to know (Updated January 9, 2022)

Will vaccines be required for kids to return to school? What about playing sports?

  • In the U.S., school vaccination requirements are established by each state not by the federal government
  • The CDC recommends all children ages 5 and up get vaccinated to protect against COVID-19. However, the decision to make vaccines mandatory for school return is made by state and local authorities.
  • – Every state currently requires K-12 students to be vaccinated against certain diseases, although the requirements including which shots are required and the reasons students can opt out – vary from one state to another.V
  • As sports and other group activities start back up, it is still important to be cautious and adhere to pandemic safety guidance.

V Source: Kristine Bowman; Professor of Law and Education Michigan State University (Updated 5/12/21)

VI Source: COVID-19 Vaccine: What Parents Need to Know | (Johns Hopkins Medicine)

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