About 28 million children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, nearly a year after the shots became available to older adults. And as parents and grandparents begin signing their young ones up for it, many are wondering what to expect.
Here’s what we know so far about the vaccine side effects in 5- to 11-year-olds.
Side effects are similar across all age groups
The good news is, there’s nothing new or different about the vaccine’s side effects in the younger population. And if anything, the few thousand children who participated in the clinical trials and received Pfizer’s two-shot, small-dose regimen — it’s one-third the dose given to individuals 12 and older — experienced fewer symptoms than vaccinated adolescents and adults. What’s more, no serious safety concerns were observed in the study.
Top 5 Side Effects Seen in Kids Ages 5 to 11
The most common side effects after the second dose of Pfizer’s 10-microgram COVID vaccine in clinical trials for children ages 5-11.
- Injection site pain
- Muscle pain
Pain at the injection site was the most common complaint, according to study data presented to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory committee, with about 70 percent of kids in the 5-to-11 age group reporting it after each vaccine dose. Nearly 40 percent of the trial participants experienced fatigue after the second shot, about 28 percent had a headache, around 12 percent had muscle pain and about 10 percent reported chills.
Not only are these “self-limiting” side effects similar to those seen in adults who got the COVID vaccine, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a recent press briefing, but they’re comparable to the symptoms that occur with “other vaccines recommended for children,” including tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) and the flu vaccine.