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COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Kids Ages 5-11

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Author name: Lee Health

COVID vaccine for kids graphic

For many anxious parents, the wait is over. The first COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children 5 to 11 years old. The approval represents a new development in the fight against the virus, whose Delta variant in September alone infected more than 1.1 million U.S. children, of whom 41 died.

U.S. public health officials say the COVID-19 shots are on their way to more than 28 million children. Meanwhile, as efforts ramp up to make the vaccine widely available in Southwest Florida, infectious disease expert Dr. Stephanie Stovall, Chief of Quality and Patient Safety at Lee Health, answers your most pressing questions about the vaccine.

Q: What COVID-19 vaccine did the FDA and CDC authorize for children ages 5 to 11?

A: The approved vaccine is a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which has one-third the dose given to adolescents and adults. The vaccine is given with a smaller needle, which is specially designed for children. Children are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive the second dose.

Q: What are the side effects of the vaccine?

A: The most common side effects are soreness at the injection site, fatigue and headache. Some children can experience fever and chills. These side effects subside within few days. According to the CDC, one clinical trial involving more than 3,000 children 5 to 11 years old who received the vaccine, side effects were like those seen in adults, though children appear to have lower incidence of side effects than adults similarly vaccinated.

However, some people have no side effects and severe allergic reactions are rare. If your child experiences a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine providers can rapidly provide care and call for emergency medical services, if needed.

Q: What about long-term side effects of the vaccine?

A: Side effects from other immunizations, such as for chicken pox, influenza and others occur within the first two or three weeks after the shots, not months afterward. Vaccines rarely cause long-term effects.

Scientists conducted clinical trials with about 3,000 children and the FDA determined the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine met the safety and efficacy standards for authorization in children ages 5 through 15 years.

All COVID-19 vaccines—for adults, adolescents, and kids—are being monitored for safety with the most comprehensive and intense safety monitoring program in U.S. history. CDC monitors the safety and effectiveness of all vaccines — including COVID-19 vaccines —  after the vaccines are authorized or approved for use.

Q: Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine the same time as another vaccine, like the flu vaccine?

A: Yes. If the vaccines are received at the same time, one would be given in a different injection site -- for example, in the other arm, or in two different places on the leg.

Q: My child has a history of food or medication allergies. Should they skip this vaccine?

A: No. COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain egg products, as some other vaccines do. A severe allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis, may happen after any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, but this is rare.

If this issue particularly concerns you, tell your pediatrician or pharmacist. These health professionals can observe your child in the office or pharmacy for longer after the vaccine to make sure there is no allergic reaction.

Q: My child had COVID-19. Should they still get vaccinated?

A: Your child should still get vaccinated, even if they were diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. The vaccine offers additional, longer-lasting protection than recovery from illness. More than 8,300 kids aged 5 to 11 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 because of serious illness. The CDC reports that the number of children and adolescents admitted to hospitals increased nearly five times during the summer with the Delta surge. Also, more than 5,200 children and teens have developed MIS-C, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a condition linked to COVID-19 that often leads to ICU admission. The median age of children diagnosed with MIS-C is 9.

Q: My kids are healthy. Should they still be vaccinated?

A: Yes. According to the CDC, about one-third of children who are hospitalized from COVID-19 have no underlying health conditions. Healthy children infected with coronavirus can become very sick and would also benefit from the vaccine.

Q: My child’s almost 12 years old. Should we wait for the higher dose?

A: Get whichever dose your child is eligible for. Children who were 11 years old had excellent immune responses to the 5- to 11-year-old dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, so I wouldn’t hesitate to give it to an 11-year-old. If she or he turns 12 before the second dose is due, they should receive the 12+ dose. Waiting until they turn 12 will only delay their protection further.

Q: Where can I get the vaccine for my child?

A:  CVS and Walgreens are now accepting appointments for shots beginning Saturday, according to the Naples Daily News. Other retail pharmacies — including Publix, Walmart and Winn-Dixie — as well as county-run sites and some pediatrician offices and children’s hospitals are expected to have shots available soon.

For a map of vaccine locations for kids 5-11, you can follow this link.

Upcoming locations sponsored by Lee Health

Nov. 13: 9 a.m-12 p.m.

Pediatric Vaccination Kick-off
Golisano Children’s Hospital 
Second dose: Dec. 4: 1:30p-4:30p

Nov. 15: 4 p.m.-7 p.m. 

Hector Cafferata Elementary
250 Santa Barbara Blvd. N. 
Cape Coral FL  33993
Second dose 12/6 4p-7p

Nov. 16: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Beach Baptist
130 Connecticut St.
Fort Myers Beach 33931
Second dose: TBD

Nov. 16: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Mackoul Pediatrics
206 SE 16th Place
Cape Coral 33990
Second dose 12/7 2p-5p

Nov. 17: 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
San Carlos Park Elementary
17282 Lee Road
Fort Myers 33976
Second dose 12/8 3p-6p

Nov. 18: 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Franklin Park Elementary
2323 Fort St.
Fort Myers 33916
Second dose 12/9 3p-6p

Nov. 19: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
LPG Pediatrics Lehigh
260 Beth Stacey Blvd Suite C
Lehigh Acres  33936
Second dose 12/10 2p-5p

Nov. 20: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Pediatrics Page Field
4751 S Cleveland Ave.
Fort Myers 33907
Second dose 12/11 9a-1p

Nov. 22: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
LPG Pediatric Coconut Point
23450 Via Coconut Pt. Suite H
Estero, FL 33929
Second dose 12/13 2p-5p

Nov. 23: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Mackoul Pediatrics
206 SE 16th Place
Cape Coral 33990
Second dose 12/14 2p-5p

Nov. 29: 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
Guadalupe Center- Monaghan Campus
1170 Harvest Drive 
Immokalee, FL 34142
Second dose 12/20 

Nov. 30: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
LPG Pediatric Cape Coral
650 Del Prado Blvd. Suite 107
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Second dose 12/21 2p-5p

Dec. 2: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Mackoul Pediatrics
206 SE 16th Place
Cape Coral 33990
Second dose: Dec. 23: 2p-5p