The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective at preventing serious COVID-19 infection and virtually eliminating hospitalizations associated with the disease. Children’s National Hospital encourages you to find a vaccine for your child in a timely manner and at a location that is convenient for you. You can find convenient vaccine locations at vaccines.gov.How can I support the COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund?
We suggest that you contact your child’s pediatrician to see if they are administering the Pfizer vaccine, or consider visiting your local retail pharmacy. You can also contact your county or city health department and schedule a vaccine appointment at their sites.
Children’s National Hospital will be administering vaccine to our patients in certain outpatient clinics as part of routine visits, and we will also be offering vaccine to inpatients who qualify. Additionally, we will be conducting vaccine events for patients who have an increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection. If your child falls into that category, you will receive an email or text message from us.
If you have questions about your child’s COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your pediatrician or pediatric specialist.
If COVID-19 case numbers are declining, why should my child get vaccinated?
The decrease in COVID-19 cases is a result of the good work people are doing in the community. The reason the numbers are down is because people are getting vaccinated, and people who are unvaccinated are following rules and regulations advised to them by the CDC and their community.
However, just because the virus may have begun to slow, does not mean our safety measures can. Before we can take a breath and consider this round of the pandemic over, we have to hit herd immunity with at least 70% of the population fully vaccinated, and we really need to add another group of children to help us cross that threshold.
Is it safe for my child to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
Yes, as long as your child is eligible to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, then it is safe to administer them together.
How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child?
Pfizer studied its vaccine in clinical trials. These studies, which enrolled thousands of children, tell us about side effects experienced by the children in this study and, importantly, tell us how the frequency of these symptoms compares to those in children who received a saline placebo injection. As with the trials of these vaccines that have been conducted in adults, safety is a top priority and participants in the study are asked about any new symptoms daily for the first week after each vaccine dose and then asked about any more serious new illnesses or health problems for 2 years after vaccination. The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.
My child already had COVID-19. Why should they get the vaccine?
Even if your child has already had COVID-19, they should still receive the vaccine. While there is some evidence that people who been infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop immunity for several months after infection, it is unclear if that immunity is fully protective and how long any protection may last. The vaccines have been studied specifically to answer these questions and have been demonstrated to be very effective at protecting vaccinated individuals from COVID-19.
Help us care for children and support frontline providers who are giving their all. Your gift to our COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund
will support our doctors, nurses and other providers with childcare, transportation and wellness, so they can provide the best care; help us prepare and care for hospitalized children; and assist in the distribution of pediatric vaccinations. Every gift matters during this critical time.
This Q&A was developed in partnership with our sister site, Rise and Shine, a resource for children's health and parenting advice from Children's National Hospital experts.