What side effects does the Pfizer vaccine have on kids?


In this Wednesday, March 24, 2021 image from video provided by Duke Health, Alejandra Gerardo, 9, looks up to her mom, Dr. Susanna Naggie, as she gets the first of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations during a clinical trial for children at Duke Health in Durham, N.C. In the U.S. and abroad, researchers are beginning to test younger and younger kids, to make sure the shots are safe and work for each age. (Shawn Rocco/Duke Health via AP)

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be approved for children ages 5-11 in the near future.  

This leaves some parents wondering what the side effects of this vaccine may be and how it will affect their children.  

What were some of the common side effects seen in youth ages 12 – 17? 

“It seems that the younger immune system responds to this vaccine a little more strongly than older people’s immune system. So, a larger percentage of kids in that age group are going to get side effects, especially after the second dose. And that’s something that parents should be aware of and be prepared for their children to complain about,” says Dr. Kilkenny, the CEO and Health Officer for the Cabell Huntington Health Department.  

Dr. Kilkenny also explained, “the better immune response you get, the more likely you are to feel it.” He says the older generation has a weaker immune system than younger generations, so they “don’t mount as significant in immune response as a younger person does,” meaning they would have fewer symptoms. He says the younger generation has a stronger immune response and may, in turn, feel worse.    

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the more common side effects for youth between the ages of 12-15 were:  

  • Pain where the shot was given 
  • Fatigue 
  • Headache 
  • Chills 
  • Muscle Pain 
  • Fever 
  • Joint Pain  

Will the 5-11 age group have the same side effects?  

“That’s one of the things we’re seeing as Pfizer is coming forward asking for approval for use in that age group. That’s going to be a different dose and we haven’t yet reviewed all that data to give people a breakdown on that,” Kilkenny explained.  

The Health Department says with the younger age groups parents can expect to see a sore arm, tiredness, headaches, muscle aches and/or chills. They say those side effects are uncommon – less than 10% – but still often enough that it can be expected.    

Right now, the drug company is awaiting approval from the FDA and the CDC before they begin rolling out the vaccine for the 5-11 age group.

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