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Published on November 10, 2021

FAQ: COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine for 5-11 Year Olds

Get answers to the top questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11 from medical experts.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11: Safety, Efficacy and Side Effects

Is the COVID-19 vaccine available for children ages 5-11 years old?

Yes. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has received emergency use authorization from the FDA for children 5-11 years of age.

How do we know the vaccine is safe and effective?

Safety: The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children ages 5 through 11 who received the vaccine. No serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study. The commonly reported side effects are almost the same as in adults.

Effectiveness: Immune responses of children 5 through 11 years of age were comparable to those of individuals 16 through 25 years of age. In that study, the vaccine was 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.

How is the 5-11 Pfizer vaccine different from the 12+ vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 through 11 years old is 1/3 the dose of the adults. Otherwise, it is the same.

What are the side effects from the vaccine?

Commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial included:

  • Injection site pain (sore arm)
  • Redness and swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Nausea
  • 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. Most went away within one to two days.

I have heard that the COVID-19 vaccine could cause the risk of myocarditis, which is a condition that enlarges the heart. Is my child at risk?

Myocarditis is rare, but most common in males 12-29 years of age, seen in adolescents and adults who received a 30ug dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

No cases of myocarditis occurred during the clinical trials with children 5-11 years old, where they received 10 ug of vaccine. 3,082 children were enrolled in the trial.

The rate of having myocarditis from COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses is higher than the risk of having myocarditis from the vaccine.

Getting the Vaccine

How is the vaccine given?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be given to your child as an injection into the muscle of the arm or leg. Your child will be able to chose where they get the shot.

The vaccine is administered as a 2-dose series, 3 weeks apart. The second dose will be scheduled at the time the patient receives their first dose.

At Cone Health, clinicians experienced with administering vaccines to children will be ready to support you and your child.

My children are afraid of needles and afraid of getting the vaccine. Is there anything I can do to calm them ahead of getting their COVID-19 vaccine?

Make it routine. Make it normal. Practice at home with pretend shots and say, “It hurt a little bit and now it’s all better. Let’s put a Band-Aid on it.”

Because of COVID-19 safety precautions, nurses will be wearing masks and maybe a face shield, so prepare your child for that appearance.

My child is about to turn 12. Which COVID-19 vaccine should they get?

Your child should get the vaccine that is recommended for their age at the time of their vaccine appointment.

If your child is 12 years old at the time of the 2nd dose, then they will receive the dosage for 12+ year old, which is different from the dosage approved for 5-11 year old.

If my child had COVID-19 already, do they need the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The vaccine will help protect children from getting COVID-19 again. In addition, being fully vaccinated will help prevent serious illness or hospitalization.

When can my child receive the vaccine after having tested positive for COVID?

If it has been 10 days since diagnosis and they have no symptoms, they can receive the vaccine. If they have received monoclonal antibodies, your child will have to wait 90 days.

Can my child get their flu shot at the same time as the vaccine?

Yes, they can take flu and COVID-19 vaccine in two separate injections at the same time. Please note that Cone Health community vaccine clinics are not offering the flu vaccines.

Are parents required to be present for children to receive the vaccine?

Yes. North Carolina requires parental consent for the emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children.

Does it cost money to get the vaccine?

No, there are no out of pocket costs for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

When will my child be considered fully vaccinated?

Children are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine.

Once fully vaccinated, they can get back to activities they enjoy like sports, choir, plays and parties with some added confidence that they are protected!

Regardless of vaccination status, it still remains important to follow the 3Ws: Wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11 at Cone Health

Cone Health is offering the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 at our community sites and partner locations in Guilford, Alamance and Rockingham counties.

Visit conehealth.com/vaccine for more information and to schedule an appointment.

FAQ: COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine for 5-11 Year Olds