As you consider getting your child vaccinated against COVID-19, you may find it difficult to process all the information circulating around vaccines. Fairhope Pediatrics is here to provide clarification and help you avoid misinformation as you consider vaccinating your child against COVID-19.
The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2021 and is an mRNA vaccine, which teaches our cells to make pieces of protein replicating the COVID-19 virus. Our bodies react to the mRNA vaccine by building up immunity to the specific protein. Once this occurs, if the body is exposed to COVID-19, the immune system will know how to fight it off and further reduce the chances of becoming infected or severely ill. This vaccine does not contain the live virus, which means it cannot give your child COVID-19. Just like adults, the vaccine requires two doses given three weeks apart and can be given at the same time as other vaccines (such as the flu vaccine).
While children are still at a lower risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, it doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. Children with underlying health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and asthma are at the highest risk for severe illness. For these reasons, it is important to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to reduce the risk of harmful disease, death and “long COVID,” a condition where individuals show the effects of COVID-19 for months after the initial infection.
The dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11 is one-third of what is used for adolescents and adults. The results of this dose mirror those seen in people ages 16 and older who received the higher dose of the vaccine. Additionally, side effects are similar including a sore arm, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and fever. Typically, these side effects go away in a day or two and are signs the immune system is responding.
We understand medical information can sometimes be intimidating, but we are here to be a resource for you, your child, and your family. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit cdc.gov.
To schedule an appointment for your child or ask further questions, call 251.928.5568.