Paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Getting your child vaccinated against COVID-19 is a very personal choice, but with an immunocompromised teenager and two sets of elderly grandparents that we see often, it was a decision that we made as a family. Now is the Time to Get Your Child Vaccinated Against COVID-19
Everyone in the United States age 5 or older is now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID. CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend all children 5 and older get a COVID vaccine as soon as possible. Vaccines are given to children 5-11 in a smaller dose that has been specially tailored for younger children. Adolescents ages 12 and older receive the same dosage of the COVID vaccine as adults.
Here’s a scary statistic — more than 7 million Americans under 18 have gotten COVID. Since August, hospitalization rates for children with COVID have reached record highs.
Why Get Vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated is the best way to control the pandemic and make it safer for everyone to gather together at schools, playdates, weddings, sporting events, parties, festivals, and while traveling. If you are not vaccinated—whatever your age—you are at risk of getting seriously sick and dying. Getting vaccinated protects other people, as well as yourself and your loved ones.
Besides being vaccinated, you should continue to wear a mask and social distance indoors in public places.
COVID vaccines help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death and can help protect your child even if they do get it.
Millions of people have safely received COVID vaccines, which are the most closely monitored vaccines in U.S. history and are being monitored just as closely in children.
Short-term side effects from the vaccine are normal and typically last for a couple days after vaccination.
Children who’ve gotten a COVID vaccine may have the same temporary side effects as adults. They are signs that the vaccine is working and that your child’s body is building protection against the virus.
Common side effects include:
o Pain, redness, or swelling where you got your shot
o Muscle pain
The risks from COVID far outweigh any risks from side effects of the vaccine.
When my 11-year-old was recently vaccinated (with both doses), luckily, he didn’t have any side effects. We chose to go to a NYC Vaccination site at Citi Field in Queens that was very kid friendly. It was easy to make an appointment and we were easily able to park our car. Since my youngest child has special needs, I was able to ask for a quiet area and ask for special help with him. The staff was empathetic and used to dealing with children who were very nervous, as my child was one of them. I was grateful for how well we were treated and that my son was able to be vaccinated. It was a personal choice we made for our family.
Getting vaccinated has never been easier or more convenient.
- Everyone in the United States age 5 or older is eligible to get vaccinated.
- Vaccines are free regardless of health insurance or immigration status.
- Vaccines for kids are now available at more than 30,000 trusted and convenient locations. To find the site closest to you, visit vaccines.gov or vacunas.gov in Spanish; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233.
Check with your child’s pediatrician or their school for vaccine availability. Many schools and health care providers are offering vaccines to make it easier for children to get vaccinated. My daughter’s school has held several days devoted to this.
If you have any questions about the vaccine, ask your child’s pediatrician. It’s normal to have questions about major health decisions.
The American Medical Association reports over 96% of doctors have been fully vaccinated against COVID and the American Academy of Pediatrics has joined CDC in recommending COVID vaccines for children 5 and older. Research for yourself at cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information and help the people you care about find a vaccine at https://www.vaccines.gov
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
- Can a COVID vaccine make my child sick with COVID?
- None of the authorized and recommended COVID vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID. This means that a COVID vaccine cannot give your child COVID.
- Will a COVID vaccine alter my child’s DNA?
- No. COVID vaccines do not change or interact with your child’s DNA in any way. It is biologically impossible.
- Do COVID vaccines affect fertility?
- No, they do not. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, CDC recommends getting a COVID vaccine. Currently, no evidence indicates that any vaccines, including COVID vaccines, cause fertility problems, in women or men. If you are trying to become pregnant, then you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID vaccine. In a recent study, people who had gotten the COVID vaccine had the same pregnancy success rate as people who had not been vaccinated. Vaccines are carefully studied and monitored, and it is clear they are safe for people who are pregnant or who want to become pregnant.
- Are the vaccines safe for women who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Yes, COVID vaccines are recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or might become pregnant in the future. In fact, pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID and getting a COVID vaccine helps protect them from severe illness from COVID. CDC tracks all vaccines for safety and the evidence to date shows that the vaccines are safe for pregnant women. Pregnant women seem to have the same side effects as everyone else, and we haven’t seen evidence of miscarriages, stillbirths, or preterm births linked to the vaccines. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding parents who have received mRNA COVID vaccines have antibodies in their breast milk, which could help protect their babies.
- What should parents of adolescents know about myocarditis related to COVID vaccine?
- A very small number of cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported following COVID vaccination.
- While these conditions are rare, the available evidence suggests a link with mRNA COVID vaccination.
- Most cases in children have been in adolescent males and most occur after the second vaccine dose.
- In general, persons who developed these conditions following COVID vaccination respond well to medical treatment and rest and recover. Now is the Time to Get Your Child Vaccinated Against COVID-19