Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccines

Parents/legal guardians can schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments for their children ages 5 – 11 using MyChart. You can call the doctor’s office or use MyChart to send an email.

Is my child eligible to receive the vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for children and youth over age 5. Read more about the vaccines and who is eligible.

What should I bring to my child’s vaccination appointment?

Any child under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Please bring your own ID and your child’s insurance card, if you have one. Please wear masks. If you are coming for a second shot or booster, please bring the vaccination card you received for your child after they had the first shot.

Which vaccine is approved for children?

Only the Pfizer vaccine has received approval for children 5 – 11 years old. Pfizer is also approved for youth 12 – 18 years old.

How effective is the vaccine for children?

The Pfizer vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 – 11 years. In older children, age 12–18 years, it is 93% effective.

How do we know the Pfizer vaccine is safe for kids?

Before the FDA can issue an emergency use authorization, a vaccine must go through a rigorous vetting process. The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children ages 5 – 11 who received the vaccine. No serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study. The exact dosage was studied and the time between doses was studied. In addition, the Pfizer vaccine has been given to hundreds of millions of people around the world safely and effectively. The mRNA technology used to manufacture the vaccine has been used for decades in other treatments.

Will my child have long-term side effects from the vaccine?

There is no vaccine that has caused side effects beginning more than two months after receiving the vaccine. All vaccines are made to disintegrate safely in the body.

Is it the same as the adult vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 – 11 years has the same active ingredients as the vaccine for ages 12 and up, but it is a smaller dose. The children’s dose is one-third the size of the adult dose. In addition, the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 – 11 years has an orange cap. The vaccine for ages 12 years and up has a purple cap. Smaller needles specially designed for children are also used.

Is the dose based on a child’s age or weight?

The dose of the vaccine is based on the age of the child on the day of vaccination. It is not based on weight.

Is it given in two separate shots? How far apart?

It is given in two doses, three weeks (21 days) apart. 

I’m a patient at Henry Ford Health – can my child get vaccinated there?

As long as your child is also a patient, they can be vaccinated at one of our Pediatric or Family Medicine centers. If you are a patient but your child is not, they cannot be vaccinated at Henry Ford Health.

Do I need to ask my child’s doctor if it’s ok to receive the vaccine?

If your child does not have any specific health concerns, you may schedule an appointment without talking to your child’s doctor. If your child has health concerns that are not answered in these FAQs, please call your pediatrician’s office to discuss the best option for your child.

What are the side effects for children?

Commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial were injection site pain (sore arm), redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite. More children reported side effects after the second dose than after the first dose. Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity and occurred within two days after vaccination, and most went away within one to two days.

If your child does experience side effects after vaccination, you can give them Tylenol. But don’t give it to them before vaccination—only after, and only if they experience pain—as it could blunt the immune response.

COVID-19 doesn’t affect young children like it does adults. Why should my child get vaccinated?

In the U.S., COVID-19 cases in children make up 19 percent of total cases, as of April 28, 2022, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Reported COVID-19 cases among children spiked dramatically in 2022 during the Omicron variant winter surge, peaking at 1,150,000 cases reported in one week. In addition, there have been at least 7,880 cases of MIS-C and 66 deaths since May 2020, a life-threatening condition associated with COVID-19 in which multiple organs (such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain) become inflamed.

The vaccine will protect your child from the virus and complications, including long-haul symptoms that can linger for months. It will prevent the virus from being spread to other people in your family and the community. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely it is that new variants will develop that will be resistant to our current vaccines. Vaccinating children also means they can maintain their routines, socialize with friends, and stay in the classroom - key for children and their mental health.

Is vaccination needed if my child already had COVID-19?

Yes, if your child had COVID-19 in the past, they should be vaccinated. The vaccine will provide a higher level of protection that is longer lasting than natural immunity. Vaccination will also prevent your child from getting COVID-19 a second time. If your child was recently sick with COVID-19, you should wait until they no longer have symptoms and are feeling better to get the vaccine.

Can an immunocompromised child get vaccinated?

Children who are immunocompromised should get vaccinated. Please see our vaccination chart for guidelines for primary doses and boosters. While their immune systems may not generate as strong a protective response as a non-immunocompromised person, but they will likely receive some protection and benefit from the vaccine. It’s also important that people around them get vaccinated to “cocoon” or protect them from COVID-19 transmission.

Will my child need boosters?

Children and youth ages 12 -17 years can receive a booster of Pfizer 5 months after their second dose.  

Will the vaccine cause myocarditis in children?

In pediatric clinical trials, there have been no cases of myocarditis, a rare heart condition that a small amount of people have experienced after vaccination. Myocarditis is more common in adolescent and young men, and is more common with Moderna than Pfizer. However, it is a very rare side effect. The risk of heart inflammation after contracting COVID-19 itself is much higher than it is after vaccination. 

If my child is 11 for their first dose and turns 12 before their second dose, should they get the adult dose for both?

No, your child should get the dose that is recommended for their age on the day of vaccination. If you child is 11 on the date they receive the first dose, they will receive the dose formulated for children ages 5 – 11. If they are 12 when they return for dose 2, they can receive the adult dose.

Can I make an appointment for my child if they have not turned five yet?

You must wait until your child has had their fifth birthday before you can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at Henry Ford.

My child received dose 1 at our local pharmacy/city/county vaccination site. Can we come to Henry Ford Health for the second dose or a booster?

Yes, you may schedule dose 2 or a booster at a Henry Ford Health pediatrics or family medicine center, even if your child did not receive dose 1 at Henry Ford Health. Please bring your child’s vaccination card with you. Remember that your child must be a Henry Ford Health patient in order to receive the vaccine at Henry Ford Health. 

My child has allergies. Can they get the vaccine? 

  • If your child has allergies to pets, plants, foods, pollen, and dust, they can receive the vaccine. 
  • The Pfizer vaccine does not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. 
  • If your child has a history of a severe allergic reaction or carries an Epi-pen, please tell the team at the vaccination site when you arrive for your appointment. If your child is allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, or had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they should not receive it. Please talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are unsure.
    • The ingredients of the Pfizer vaccine are: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.
  • If your child had an allergic reaction to Miralax or another medication that contains polyethylene glycol (PEG) they should not receive the vaccine. If your child had abdominal pain or discomfort after taking Miralax, these symptoms alone are not an allergic reaction.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s allergies and the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your child’s pediatrician.

What is an “allergic reaction?”

An allergic reaction happens within minutes to hours of taking a medication. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, itching, a rash, hives, and swelling of the face/lips.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for children who have ADHD?

While COVID-19 vaccine studies have not been done specifically on ADHD, the vaccine research trials included thousands of people from around the world (36,000+ for Pfizer, 30,000+ for Moderna, and 43,000+ for Johnson & Johnson). It is estimated that 2.8% of people have ADHD worldwide. Based on these data, as many as 67,000 people with ADHD were involved in the vaccine trials and no adverse reactions occurred in people with ADHD. If your child has ADHD, it is safe for them to get vaccinated.

Should kids with developmental disabilities get vaccinated?

Kids with developmental disabilities are not more susceptible to COVID-19, but they may have greater challenges when it comes to wearing a mask, washing their hands, avoiding touching their eyes, nose or mouth, and social distancing. For these reasons, they may be at a higher risk for contracting and spreading the virus. For their protection and the protection of others, it is important to vaccinate children with developmental disabilities.

How do I enroll my child in v-safe, the CDC’s Smartphone app where I can report vaccine side effects?

If your child is under 16 you can register yourself (you will not need to enter your vaccine information) and create an account for your child. You will use your cell phone number and register your child or dependent with their name, birthdate and vaccination information. Click here for details.

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