FAQs: COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5 - 11
The Health Department has held several successful vaccine clinics for 5 to 11 year olds. We’re sharing the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we got from parents in order to help others who are considering protecting their child with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
How is the 5-11 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine different from the 12+ vaccine?
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for individuals 12 years of age and older (30 micrograms) – a third of the amount given to adults. This amount was determined based on children’s COVID-19 vaccine trials that studied different doses to find the safest dose that gave the best immune response.
Vial cap and label border will both be orange and state “For age 5 years to <12 years.” The COVID-19 vaccine vials with a purple or gray cap and label border identify age 12 and older vaccine.
Why is age used for a vaccine dose, but weight is used for antibiotics?
Vaccines don’t work the same way that medicines like antibiotics work. Antibiotics help the body get rid of germs when sick. To get rid of germs, the body needs the right amount of medicine to make it to all parts of the body and find the problem. Doses of antibiotics are measured by weight so that the medicine can get to all the places of infection at levels needed by different size bodies.
On the other hand, a vaccine helps the body know how to stop germs before they make you sick. A very small dose is all your cells need to learn how to stop germs. With information provided by the vaccine, the immune cells then launch a response to get rid of the virus.
My child is about to turn 12. Which COVID-19 vaccine should they get?
Your child should get the vaccine product that is recommended for their age at the time of vaccine.
My children already had COVID-19, 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 if they are infected again with the virus that causes COVID-19.
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 and 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, and most went away within one to two days.
Do I have to pay to vaccinate my child for COVID-19?
No, the COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone who is eligible, including children, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
Where can my child go to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
There are many convenient ways to access the vaccine:
Many pediatricians in Maryland are offering the COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds. Reach out to your child’s pediatrician to see if they are able to vaccinate your child.
Walmart Pharmacy in Denton and Cantner’s Pharmacy in Federalsburg are listed as pharmacies in Caroline County that have the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds.
Caroline County Vaccine Center, 18 Denton Plaza (between Petco and Verizon), will hold special clinics for 5-11 year olds throughout the coming weeks. Please visit www.carolinecovid19.org/vax to find a convenient time for an appointment. A parent or legal guardian must be present to sign consent at the time of vaccination. The Health Department and Choptank Health may also hold additional school-based vaccination clinics, which will also be listed on the website schedule. A parent or guardian must also be present at any school-based clinics.
I still have questions, where can I get more information on COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds?
Talk to your child’s pediatrician. They know all the information and your child’s medical history.
Contact the Caroline County Health Department call center at (410) 479-5880 or by email through carolinecovid19.org/contact.
How do we know the vaccines are safe and effective?
In the United States over 423 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given from December 14, 2020, through November 1, 2021, with minimal serious complications. Three-phase clinical trials took place with children to carefully study the safety of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children. Approximately 3,100 children ages 5 through 11 received the vaccine in the clinical trials and no serious side effects have been detected.
Similar to what was seen in adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5-11 years. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm.
COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. The monitoring includes using established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure the COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Safety monitoring systems include: