What Parents Need To Know About The COVID-19 Vaccine For Their Children

From The Minnesota Department Of Health


 

 

 

 

 

For too long, COVID-19 has kept children from doing the things they love. The best way to keep your child healthy and safe is to get them vaccinated. Getting your child vaccinated helps keep them in school, sports, and other activities. Children who are fully vaccinated do not have to stay home (quarantine) if they are exposed to someone who has COVID-19. They also do not have to get tested as often. Vaccination helps protect children and the people around them.

Children Ages 5 Years And Older Are Now Eligible To Get Vaccinated!

For parents with children ages 5-11 years.

  • Children ages 5-11 years old should get the Pfizer vaccine for 5–11-year-olds. This is the only vaccine authorized for children ages 5-11 at this time. 
  • The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 is a smaller dose of vaccine than the Pfizer vaccine for people ages 12 and older. 
  • The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 is packaged differently, so you will want to go to a vaccine location that has this vaccine. 
  • Your child will need two doses of this vaccine. They should get the second dose 3 weeks after the first dose. It is important to get both doses of vaccine for the best protection.

For parents with children ages 12-17 years.

  • Children ages 12-17 years should get the Pfizer vaccine for people aged 12 and older. 
  • Your child will need two doses of this vaccine. They should get the second dose 3 weeks after the first dose. It is important to get both doses of vaccine for the best protection.

How We Know The COVID-19 Vaccines Are Safe For Children

  • Vaccine safety is the most important. The vaccines have been carefully studied before they were recommended to be given to children and teens. 
  • This process is called a clinical trial and all authorized vaccines have gone through it. Only vaccines shown to be safe and effective are authorized to be used.
  • In the clinical trials:
    • The vaccines for children and teens were found to be safe and getting two doses of the vaccine provided very good protection from COVID-19.  
    • The Pfizer vaccine for 5–11-year-olds was determined to be 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 disease. This is similar to the effectiveness for people aged 12 and older.
    • The clinical trials for the Pfizer vaccine for 5–11-year-olds did not have any reports of these rare side effects: myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart), or anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction). 
    • Common, mild side effects were found less in the 5–11-year-olds in the trial compared to 16–25-year-olds.
    • The Pfizer vaccine that children aged 5-11 will receive is a smaller dose than what is given to people aged 12 and up to meet the unique needs of younger children. The current Pfizer vaccine for 12 and up cannot be used for children aged 5-11 years. 
  • If you have questions about vaccines, your pediatrician or family physician can be an excellent source of information.

Where To Get Your Child Vaccinated

  • Minnesota has more than 1,100 providers who are able to give COVID-19 vaccines to children and teens. This includes pediatricians, pharmacies, state-run community clinics, schools, local public health agencies, tribal health agencies, and more. The large network of providers will help meet parents and families where they are and allow vaccine to be provided quickly and equitably.
  • Check to make sure the vaccination location you are going to have the vaccine available that your child needs. The Pfizer vaccine for 5–11-year-olds is a smaller dose than the Pfizer vaccine for 12–17-year-olds, so it is packaged in separate vials. 

To Get Your Child Vaccinated, You Can:

  • Check with your child’s regular health care provider, such as their pediatrician or your family physician.
  • Make an appointment with your local pharmacy and search for more information on pharmacy locations on Vaccines.gov.
  • Watch for vaccination clinics being offered at schools or other community locations around Minnesota.

What To Expect When Your Child Or Teen Gets Vaccinated

  • COVID-19 vaccines are free and you do not have to show an ID to get your child vaccinated. 
  • You may be asked for insurance information, but you can still get your child vaccinated for free if you do not have insurance. You will not be turned away if you do not have insurance. If you have insurance, you should provide that information when you get your child vaccinated.
  • Parental or guardian consent is required for COVID-19 vaccination of children 5-17 years of age, except under rare or special circumstances. Check with the clinic where your child is getting vaccinated to see if a parent or guardian must also be present at the vaccination appointment. When possible, we encourage you to go with your child so you can ask questions and learn more about the vaccine.
    • NOTE: For state-run vaccine clinics, children ages 15 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • At your child’s first vaccination appointment, they will receive a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card. The card will contain the vaccine your child received and the date. Keep this card and bring it with you when your child gets their second dose. Make sure to take a picture of the card in case you lose it.
  • Your child may have some side effects after vaccination, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. It is OK if they do not have side effects. In fact, data is showing that side effects are less common in children ages 5-11 years old compared to older children/adults.
    • Side effects are usually mild and go away after a couple of days. Side effects can include pain, redness, or swelling where they got the shot; tiredness; headache; muscle pain; chills; fever; or nausea. To learn more, speak to your provider or visit

Why It Is Important To Get Your Child Vaccinated

  • Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to protect them and the people around them, including vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors.
  • Children who are fully vaccinated do not have to stay home (quarantine) if they are exposed to someone who has COVID-19. They also do not have to get tested as often. 
  • Getting your child vaccinated helps them stay safe during school, sports, and other social activities.
  • Children may still get severe effects of COVID-19, and common conditions like asthma and obesity can put kids at an even greater risk of severe illness. 
  • Between July 1 and October 26, there have been more than 45,200 pediatric cases and more than 300 child hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Minnesota. Serious cases can even occur in healthy children. About 25% of COVID-19 pediatric deaths nationally have occurred in healthy children.
  • We are still learning more about COVID-19, but we know it can have some long-term health consequences. Since the beginning of the pandemic, about 100 Minnesotan children have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). MIS-C is a rare but serious syndrome that causes fever and inflammation and usually needs to be treated in a hospital. 

For more information, please visit: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/vaxforkids/