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Pfizer Vaccine + Kids | FAQs

We’ve pulled together some of our most commonly asked questions (and answers) regarding the Pfizer vaccine for kids.  We hope that it will address some of your concerns and aid you in your decision-making process.

Have questions but don’t see an answer here, email us at askCOVID@mrhme.org


What’s up with the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11?

With all of the talk and anticipation around the pending approval for the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children 5-11, we wanted to answer some common questions we have received.

 

“Is this vaccine going to make my kids infertile?”

Fertility is a major concern for parents and the COVID-19 vaccine.

There is no biological reason why we would expect the mRNA vaccine to impact fertility. mRNA degrades within 72 hours and the fat bubbles that carry the mRNA degrades within 4 days. The vaccine doesn’t linger in our body for decades; it just gives the instructions and then leaves.

We have more than 12 months of clinical trial data for the adult COVID-19 vaccine. Many women have gotten pregnant after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Millions of adolescents have also been vaccinated. Assessing the vaccines’ impact on mensural cycles is also being reviewed; an immunological response (like a fever or body aches) to the vaccine. But there is no indication this impacts fertility or safety.

 

“Will vaccinating 5-11 year olds actually help ‘end the pandemic’?”

Yes. It will help with pediatric hospitalization rates. It will help with reducing transmission, and thus it will help with adult hospitalization rates too.  Cases in children have dramatically risen as the Delta variant swept through the country.

 

“Are that many kids really getting COVID?”

In the most recent week of available data, Sept. 17-23, there were almost 207,000 new cases of COVID-19 in children, which represented 26.7% of all cases reported.

Since the end of August, the United States has added more than 1.13 million new cases in children, or just under 20% of all cases during the entire pandemic.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 6 million American children have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

 

“But kids aren’t dying of COVID, so what the point in getting them vaccinated in the first place?”

At least 297 children have died of COVID-19, about 0.06% of all deaths. At least 14,849 children have been hospitalized, about 2% of all hospitalizations. The vaccine greatly lessens the incidence of transmission, serious disease, hospitalizations, and death in all ages.

 

“What about side effects?  What can my kid expect?”

The kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — that teens experience.

I trust that any vaccine hesitancy on the part of parents will be lessened through appreciation of how carefully and independently the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and finally the CDC evaluate its safety, and that parents will also understand the importance of protecting their child from this potentially deadly infection.

 

“Kids this age are smaller than adults, so why are they getting the same dose?”

They are not getting the same dose as adults or even adolescents. In the research data sent to the FDA, the success of the immune response came from a much lower dose; only 1/3 of the dose that was given to the adults and adolescents. The vaccine dosage is not based on weight. It’s based on the maturity of an immune system. After their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots

 

“Where is the Moderna shot for kids?”

Clinical trials are underway, but not yet complete for the other COVID-19 vaccines. Moderna, for example, has an ongoing study of 13,000 children ages 6 months to 11 years and is also lowering the vaccine dose for younger children, while J&J has an ongoing trial for 12- to 17-year olds.

 

“Who needs to quarantine?”

People who are not fully vaccinated and are determined to be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 need to quarantine. Everyone should also wear a mask in K–12 schools at all times, regardless of vaccination status and the level of community transmission.

 

“Can a student or staff member go to school while in quarantine?”

No. Stay home, away from others, do not attend extra-curricular or social activities, or participate in sporting events, play dates, parties, social and family gatherings, music or theater performances, and other events where they may be close to other people.

 

“Who does not need to quarantine?”

People who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine if they come into close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 unless they are experiencing symptoms.

 

“If I’m vaccinated and exposed, what do I do?”

Get tested 5-7 days after their last known exposure—even if they don’t have symptoms. Wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days or until their test result is negative. Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and get tested and isolate immediately if they develop symptoms.