WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – The CDC on Wednesday accepted its advisory panel recommendation to approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 years and older.
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The Pfizer vaccine is the first to be approved in the United States for children as young as this. Children need a second shot of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after the first shot.
Here are five things parents and children should know about the vaccine:
1. Why should my child get the shot?
Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, health experts say children still get sick and can spread the virus to others.
The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone 12 and older to ensure protection from the virus. This is why experts say parents should give their child a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
Officials said the vaccines were used under the most intense security surveillance in US history, including studies in adolescents.
2. Where can I get the shot?
Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have updated their planning systems to include the younger age group. Some don’t require appointments and allow you to get the vaccine. Check what vaccine is available from your local pharmacy.
The Palm Beach County Health District is also planning to vaccinate this younger age group and is working with the Palm Beach County School District to devise a strategy to reach them.
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3. What are the side effects?
Similar to adults, the vaccine can cause side effects in children. These are normal signs that the body is building up protection against the virus.
Side effects include pain, redness, and swelling in the arm.
In the rest of your body, a child can feel:
- Pain, redness, or swelling where you got the shot
- a headache
- muscle pain
The CDC said these side effects could affect a child’s ability to perform daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
4. How can I prepare my child for the shot?
The CDC offers the following advice to parents before their child receives the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Get tips on how to support your child before, during, and after the visit
- Before the visit, talk to your child about what to expect
- Tell the doctor or nurse if your child has allergies to any ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine
- Comfort your child during the appointment
- To avoid fainting spells and injuries related to fainting, your child should sit or lie down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after vaccination
- After your child is shot, you will be asked to stay 15 to 30 minutes so that if your child has a severe allergic reaction and needs immediate attention can be seen
5. Will there be more COVID-19 vaccines for children?
Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are working on separate studies to get their vaccines approved for use in the United States
Moderna said in March that it is expected to enroll 6,750 healthy children under the age of 12 for their vaccine trials.
Johnson & Johnson announced in April that it would be expanding an ongoing study to include adolescents ages 12-17.
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