The CDC has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for most children and all teens, with children as young as age five now able to be safely vaccinated.
While most children are at much lower risk for severe health effects from COVID-19 than adults, there are still several reasons why it’s a good idea for parents to get them vaccinated:
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
- It’s still possible for children to get very sick from COVID-19, experience both short and long-term health effects and spread the disease to others.
- Getting children vaccinated helps protect older adults, other high-risk groups and younger siblings who aren’t yet eligible for vaccination.
- Avoiding COVID-19 infection helps keep kids in school and safely participating in sports, playdates and other extracurricular activities that are important for their development and well-being.
“With many families getting ready to gather for the holidays, this is a time of year when children are often in contact with grandparents and many other extended family members,” says LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni. “Parents who make the decision to get their kids vaccinated help protect not only their own children, but these other members of their family as well.”
Parents Split on Vaccination Decision
Early surveys showed an almost even split among parents on the decision to get their children vaccinated – about 30 percent said they’d get their kids vaccinated right away and another 30 percent said they wouldn’t. That leaves about 40 percent of parents in the “wait and see” middle.
These survey results are very similar to how most adults felt about getting a COVID-19 vaccine when they were first released. Health experts expect that over time, more parents in this middle group will make the choice to get their kids vaccinated, just as more adults eventually made the decision to get vaccinated. It may help hesitant parents to talk to other parents who made the decision to get their own children vaccinated or talk to their health care provider about concerns they may have related to their child’s specific health situation.
Facts on COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
For those parents in the “wait and see” group, here is some key information about COVID-19 vaccines for kids:
- Availability. COVID-19 vaccines are available free of charge to everyone in the U.S., including children. Ask your child’s healthcare provider if they are providing the vaccine or ask your local pharmacy about availability. You can also search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.
- Dosage. The vaccine dose provided is based on age, not weight. Children age 12 and up receive the same dose as adults. Children age 5-11 receive a dose that’s one-third of what an adult receives. Studies show this smaller dose provides a strong immune response while minimizing risk for side effects.
- Side effects. Side effects are similar to those experienced by adults – they will vary or may not occur at all. Possible side effects include pain, redness and swelling at the injection side, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, chills and nausea. Side effects should go away within a few days.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines or other questions related to COVID-19, visit the Fund’s COVID-19 Resources page.