The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now authorized for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years.
This follows their being authorized for adults in December 2020 and younger teens in May 2021.
Pfizer COVID Vaccines for 5-11 Year Olds
And now that the Pfizer COVID vaccine is authorized for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years, you might have some questions…
Does your child need a COVID vaccine?
COVID is a life-threatening disease, even in kids, and there is no good reason to skip or delay getting your child vaccinated and protected.
So unless they have a contraindication to getting vaccinated, yes, your child should get two doses of COVID vaccine at least 21 days apart!
And know that there are very few contraindications to getting a COVID vaccine…
Even if your child has already had COVID, they should still get vaccinated and protected, as “growing epidemiologic evidence from adults and adolescents indicates that vaccination following infection increases protection from subsequent infection,including in the setting of more infectious variants.”
Which COVID vaccine should they get?
Your child should get an age appropriate dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine, the only COVID vaccine authorized for children.
But because it is based on your child’s age, that could mean your child will get two different versions of the Pfizer COVID vaccine if they are about to turn 12! For example, if your child turns 12 years of age in between their first and second dose, they might receive the 10 μg (orange cap) Pfizer COVID vaccine for their first dose and the 30 μg (purple cap) vaccine for their second dose.
What side effects do kids have?
While expected side effects might include pain, swelling, redness at the injection site, fever, and headache, etc., in general, children will likely have fewer COVID vaccine side effects than teens and adults!
What about myocarditis?
“The risk of myocarditis or pericarditis after receipt of an mRNA COVID-19Interim Clinical Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccine in Children Ages 5–11 Years
vaccine is lower than the risk of myocarditis associated with SARS-CoV-2
infection in adolescents and adults.”
There will be ongoing studies about the risk of myocarditis following pediatric COVID vaccines, but the risk is thought to be small. Most importantly, parents should know that no child has died from transient myocarditis induced by a COVID vaccine and there is a greater risk of myocarditis from a natural COVID infection.
Preventing Pfizer COVID vaccine errors.
Not surprisingly, the two different forms of Pfizer COVID vaccine – children between the ages of 5 to 11 years are getting a new, orange cap, version – are not interchangeable.
To prevent vaccination errors, parents and health care providers should remember that children should always be given an age-appropriate COVID vaccine formulation. Of course, this means that they might receive the 10 μg (orange cap) Pfizer COVID vaccine for their first dose and the 30 μg (purple cap) vaccine for their second dose.
If a vaccination error does occur, it might help to know that:
- If a child turns from 11 to 12 years of age in between their first and second dose and receives 5–11 years 10 μg (orange cap) for their second dose, they do not need to repeat the dose and this is not considered an error per the EUA.
- If a child ages 5–11 years inadvertently receives a 30 μg dose for their first dose, they should receive a single age-appropriate 10 μg dose for their second dose 21 days later and should be considered as having a completed primary series.
- If a child ages 5–11 years inadvertently receives a 30 μg dose for their second dose, they should be considered has having a completed primary series.
- Unless it is their second dose, if an individual aged ≥12 years inadvertently receives a 10 μg dose, the dose should be repeated with the age appropriate 30 μg dose immediately (although males under age 30 years might wait 21 days because of the rare risk of myocarditis).
Where can I get my kids vaccinated?
In addition to pharmacies, Children’s hospitals, and health departments, your child’s primary care provider will likely be a good place to get them vaccinated.
What’s different about the Pfizer COVID vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds?
In addition to having vaccine vial caps with different colors, younger kids will be getting a different dose of vaccine (10 mcg) and a lower injected volume of vaccine (0.2ml).
This new formulation of Pfizer COVID vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds also contains a different buffer, tromethamine.
The ‘new’ buffer, which is also used in the Moderna COVID vaccine, allows providers to store the orange cap Pfize COVID vaccine in a regular vaccine refrigerator for up to 10 weeks.
When can I get my infant and preschooler vaccinated?
What’s one more big question many parents have?
When will COVID vaccines be authorized for even younger kids?
Hopefully by early next year.
Until then, let’s get everyone else vaccinated and protected and continue to work to keep SARS-CoV-2 rates down to prevent new surges.
More on COVID Vaccines
- What’s Different About COVID Vaccines for Kids?
- Are Kids Dying With COVID-19?
- COVID-19 Vaccination Questions and Answers
- Coadministration of COVID Vaccines with Other Vaccines
- COVID Vaccine Booster Doses
- Do COVID Vaccines Prevent Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus?
- The Truth About COVID-19 Vaccines
- I’m Not Anti-Vaccine, I Just Don’t Believe in the COVID-19 Vaccine
- Is It Too Late to Get a COVID Vaccine?
- Did the WHO Say That Children Should Not Be Vaccinated Against COVID?
- CDC – Interim Clinical Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccine in Children Ages 5–11 Years
- CDC – mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine-Associated Myocarditis
- FDA – Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 Vaccine to Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) for 5 Through 11 Years of Age
- FDA – Vaccine Information Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers About the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 Vaccine to Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) for Use in Individuals 5 Through 11 Years of Age
- CDC – Prevaccination Checklist for COVID-19 Vaccines
- CDC – V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker
- ACIP Presentation Slides: November 2-3, 2021 Meeting
- COCA – Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccines: CDC’s Recommendations for Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Primary Series in Children 5–11 Years Old
- COCA – What Clinicians Need to Know about the Recent Updates to CDC’s Recommendations for COVID-19 Boosters
- FDA – Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee October 26, 2021 Meeting Announcement
- CDC – ACIP Presentation Slides: November 2-3, 2021 Meeting
- AAP – COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation in Pediatric Practices
- CDC – How to Talk with Parents about COVID-19 Vaccination
- A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020
- A Timeline of COVID-19 Vaccine Developments in 2021
- A Timeline of COVID-19 Vaccine Developments for the Second Half of 2021