Here are some answers to common questions to help you decide to get your child or yourself vaccinated against COVID-19.
1. My child has a high-risk medical condition, can they get vaccinated?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccination can be given to a child who has a high-risk condition. The only people who shouldn’t get the vaccine are those who have had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis requiring emergency medical care to the COVID-19 vaccine, or one of its components.
2. Can my child get COVID-19 disease from getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States do not have the live virus in them that causes COVID-19. A COVID-19 vaccine can’t make your child sick with COVID-19.
3. Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine at any time?
Children ages 12 and up can receive the COVID-19 vaccination at any time — even at the same time as other vaccines. Previously, it was recommended families wait two weeks between getting a typical vaccine and getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but that is no longer the case.
4. Are there any restrictions to getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
It is recommended that a child who has had multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, a rare problem of COVID-19 in kids, should wait at least 90 days post-recovery before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
5. Are children (ages 12+) dying from the COVID-19 vaccine?
Overall, the total number of deaths from COVID-19 is falling. COVID-19 has caused deaths in children, including those 12 and older. However, the rate of children dying from COVID-19 is lower than for older adults. But that is not to say it cannot happen. The America Academy of Pediatrics has put out reports through this pandemic reviewing the impact COVID-19 has had on children nationally.
It’s important to note that death is only one metric to evaluate the impact of COVID-19. There can be significant and long-lasting health impacts that this virus can cause short of death. Long-COVID-19 or “long-haul” COVID-19 disease is becoming better understood as a collection of symptoms that negatively impact life and well-being of many infected.
6. Can mRNA get into my child’s genes or alter their DNA?
No, COVID-19 vaccines will not change your child’s DNA. The two types of COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and viral vector vaccines.
7. My child has already had COVID-19, are they immune or do they need to be vaccinated?
People who have had COVID-19 do need the COVID-19 vaccination even if they have had COVID-19. The timing of the vaccine should be after the symptoms have subsided and the child has recovered.
8. What side effects could my child experience from the COVID-19 vaccination?
After the COVID-19 vaccination, especially after the second dose, your child may have some mild-to-moderate symptoms, like arm pain, fatigue and headache. It is a sign that your child’s immune system is working. Side effects usually occur 1-2 days after the vaccination and no later than the week after vaccination. Call your health care provider if any symptoms occur, such as a worrisome or persistent rash.
9. If my child has had COVID-19, will their side effects be worse from the COVID-19 vaccination?
This has been reported in some adults, but not all who have gotten vaccinated after having COVID-19 disease. Everyone is different in how they respond. Since protective antibodies after disease may not last long, especially if COVID-19 was an asymptomatic or mild case, the lasting protection comes with being vaccinated against COVID-19.
10. Can my child get COVID-19 after they are fully vaccinated?
The COVID-19 vaccination will help keep your child from getting severely sick from COVID-19. Your child will be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. There is a small chance they can still test positive for COVID-19 after an exposure and may experience symptoms of the disease. However, it is safer to get the vaccine as those symptoms are more likely to be mild and last a shorter time. Most reports of COVID-19 infection after vaccination are in people 70 years of age and older and those with underlying conditions.
11. Is it safe to get vaccinated when pregnant? Does the vaccine cause miscarriages?
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy. You can get the vaccine if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Talk with your health care provider if you have questions.
12. Will the COVID-19 vaccination disrupt my child’s menstrual cycle? Can they become sterile if they get vaccinated?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine does not impact reproductive or menstrual cycles. No, your child will not become sterile by getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
13. Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine at Children’s Minnesota?
Children who are currently patients of Children’s Minnesota can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Children’s Minnesota. Patient families can call one of Children’s Minnesota primary care clinics to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated.
Our nine pediatric primary care clinics are conveniently located throughout the Twin Cities metro area so your family can access the best care, close to home. See a list of our locations here.
Learn more about how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine.
14. Is there a cost to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
There is no cost for the vaccine, but there is an administration fee that may be covered by insurance. Ask your care team if you don’t have insurance or if you have questions.