Your Child and COVID-19 Vaccines: A Roundup of Information and Resources
This post is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
In December 2020, CDC authorized a COVID vaccine for children ages 16-17. In May 2021, CDC authorized it for children ages 12-15, followed by an authorization for children ages 5-11 in November 2021. And while many parents have ensured that their child is fully vaccinated against the virus, plenty of hesitation still exists with parents across the country.
If you are not vaccinated—no matter your age—you are at risk of getting sick, and yes, even dying. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1,000 children have died from COVID. Since August, COVID has made an average of 100,000 kids a week sick. This is not factoring the latest onset of the Omicron variant, with the first cases recently being identified in the United States.
Protection is essential now more than ever. The best way to minimize COVID-19 risk, and keep your family and your child’s school safer, is to get them vaccinated.
How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
In general, vaccines train our immune system to recognize a particular virus and make cells to fight that virus. With vaccines, we can build immunity to a disease without getting the disease.
The same applies for how COVID vaccines work. COVID-19 vaccines – as well as subsequent boosters – cause the body to safely develop antibodies that recognize and fight the coronavirus that causes the disease. This helps to greatly reduce the risk for full-scale infection.
Concerns of Side Effects
As a parent, it is natural to have concerns about any possibilities of side effects of vaccines our child receives – similar to medicines prescribed to them by their doctor. While there has been a plethora of misinformation about COVID vaccine side effects circulating online, there is no need to worry.
After getting the vaccine, some people may experience temporary side effects that go away in a few days, such as injection site pain, a fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, or chills. This is normal and a sign that the body is building protection against the disease. Side effects should go away within a few days after vaccination. Sometimes, there are very minimal side effects experienced at all.
Getting your 5–17-year-old child vaccinated:
- protects them from severe illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID
- makes it possible for them to safely return to school, sports, playdates, and their other group activities
- make it possible for them to safely visit with family and friends who might be at risk for complications from COVID
- reduces the spread of COVID overall
Parents always want to do whatever they can to keep their kids as safe as possible. Children ages 5 and older can now receive the same strong protection that hundreds of millions of American adults have from COVID. Best of all, COVID-19 vaccines are free. There is no charge to schedule or receive a COVID vaccine, even if you do not have health insurance.
COVID is a greater threat to your child than any potential risk from side effects of the vaccine. Talk to a doctor if you have questions about the vaccine and take the appropriate measures now to get your child the COVID vaccine as soon as possible. Encourage other parents to do the same to help continue to reduce the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Resources:
Find vaccines near you – vaccines.gov.
- Text your ZIP code to 438829 for vaccines near you.
- Get vaccine facts and learn more – cdc.gov/coronavirus.
You can also get information, resources, and advice about COVID-19 and your child right here on our site from the articles and interviews with trusted experts below:
- COVID-19 Update: African Americans Are Still At a Higher Risk of Infection – Here’s How to Fight with Facts
- Why Black Americans Mistrust the COVID-19 Vaccine (Interview with Patricia N. Whitley-Williams, MD, President of The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)
- (For Parents of children with Cancer) What Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers Need to Know to Reduce Risk of COVID-19