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12 is the magic number for the COVID-19 vaccine

August 2021

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for everyone 12 years and older to help protect against COVID-19. All authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and help protect from severe disease.

Many parents have questions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, its side effects, and the benefits of getting vaccinated. Here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines for kids and teens.

Why does my child need a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines help protect kids from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep them from getting seriously ill even if they do get COVID-19.

When should my child be vaccinated?

The CDC recommends that all children who are 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine. If your child hasn’t gotten their vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for my child?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination provides safe and effective protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is now available for everyone ages 12 years and older. In the clinical trial for children 12 through 15 years old, no safety concerns were identified with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

The clinical trial also showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine was 100% effective at preventing COVID-19 with symptoms in children 12 through 15 years old. To get the most protection, your child will need 2 shots given 3 weeks (21 days) apart.

Before, during, and after your child’s vaccination

  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Comfort your child during the appointment.
  • Your child should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given.
  • After your child’s COVID-19 vaccination, you will be asked to stay for 15-30 minutes so your child can be observed.

Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines during the same visit?

Yes. Your child can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection after getting vaccinated (immune response) and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn more.

What are the side effects?

Your child may have some side effects, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. These side effects may affect your child’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects. Side effects from the second shot may be more intense than those experienced after the first shot.

Possible side effects after COVID-19 vaccination

On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of the body:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination far outweigh any potential risk of side effects. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect your child from getting COVID-19.

Contact your child’s healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where the shot was administered gets worse after 24 hours.
  • If the side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.

Should I worry about myocarditis?

Public health and medical experts are carefully monitoring what appears to be a very rare inflammation of heart muscle following Covid vaccination. This inflammatory condition of heart muscle is called “myocarditis” and is being discovered more frequently in the adolescent population compared to adult populations. 

We known that vaccines can cause muscle inflammation, including heart muscle inflammation, which causes some individuals to experience muscle ache and/or flu-like symptoms. Though heart-related problems are always worrisome, myocarditis is typically a short-lived problem that is treated very effectively with conservative measures.

Who is paying for COVID-19 vaccines?

The federal government is providing COVID-19 vaccines free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot charge you for the vaccine. 

Where can I learn more?

Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines that your child may need. You can also find out more at

Watch three new video segments from Blue KC’s COVID-19 Vaccine S.A.F.E. Series that address the impact of COVID-19 on children and emphasize the health benefits and importance of children receiving the vaccine. The new content to the S.A.F.E series includes three factual, educational segments with doctors from Children’s Mercy Kansas City, a COVID-19 Vaccine Pediatric Trial family, adolescents and school employees showing how the COVID-19 vaccine is not only Safe, but also Simple, Accessible, Free and Easy.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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