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What side effects are associated with the Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids?

What parents need to know about the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kids ages 5 to 11 are now getting vaccinated against COVID-19 after Pfizer's pediatric vaccine was approved by U.S. health leaders this week. 

The decision to approve the vaccine is being celebrated by health leaders as a step in the right direction to getting the country back to pre-pandemic life. Parents have many questions about the vaccine, ranging from potential side effects and long-term health conditions to where they can schedule a vaccine for their child. 

Here are three common questions parents may have about the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

What side effects are associated with the COVID-19 vaccine for kids? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the most commonly seen side effects for kids are similar to those seen in adults who are vaccinated. 

Redness, as well as pain and swelling at the injection site, are common side effects. No serious side effects like Myocarditis, a heart inflammation, were reported in Pfizer's clinical trial of the vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. It's important to note that the trial size consisted of just 48 kids, so doctors say serious side effects may happen over a longer period of time with more children getting the shot. 

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine for kids? 

Pfizer's clinical trials found the pediatric vaccine to be nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 among kids in the age group. 

A Pfizer study tracked 2,268 kids in that age group who got two shots three weeks apart of either a placebo or the low-dose vaccine. Each dose was one-third the amount given to teens and adults.

Researchers calculated the low-dose vaccine was nearly 91% effective, based on 16 COVID-19 cases in youngsters given dummy shots versus three cases among vaccinated children. There were no severe illnesses reported among any of the youngsters but the vaccinated ones had much milder symptoms than their unvaccinated counterparts.

How soon will my child be fully vaccinated? 

Just like in adults, full protection doesn't happen right after the first dose. Pfizer's vaccine for kids is also given in two doses, three weeks apart. Full protection will come approximately two weeks after the second dose. 

This means if you start the process of getting your child vaccinated against COVID-19 on Nov. 5, they could be considered fully vaccinated in time for Christmas.

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