COVID-19 Q&A: Vaccine for 12-15 year-olds

When can a 12-15 year-old receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Today! Or whenever it’s convenient. As of May 12, 2021, adolescents 12-15 years old can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are given in the same dosage as for adults: two 0.3 mL doses of vaccine 21 days apart.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective for adolescents 12-15?  

Yes. COVID-19 vaccine has been administered during clinical trials to more than 1,000 adolescents ages 12-15 years old. None of the adolescents in the phase 3 clinical trials had unusual or severe reactions to the vaccine. Of those in the trial who received the vaccine, zero adolescents contracted COVID-19, while 18 adolescents in the placebo group contracted COVID-19.

What are the most likely side effects for adolescents?

The most common side effects of the vaccine among adolescents were similar to those for older adolescents and adults: sore arm at the injection site, swollen lymph nodes, headache, chills, mild fever, and fatigue. Over the counter medications can be given to adolescents after their vaccine to alleviate these symptoms, if they occur.

Can COVID-19 vaccine be given during the same appointment as other vaccines?

COVID-19 and other vaccines may now be given without regard to timing of other vaccinations. Adolescents are routinely recommended to receive vaccines such as meningococcal, human papillomavirus, influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccines.

In general, it is safe to give more than one vaccine at the same time, however, it is unknown whether the expected side effects of COVID-19 vaccine may increase when it’s given with other routine vaccines. When deciding whether to receive several vaccines during the same appointment, healthcare providers, parents, and adolescents should consider the risks and benefits of catching up on all vaccinations at the time of an appointment.

Why should adolescents be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they don’t get COVID as often?

While children and adolescents are at lower risk of severe COVID-19 illness compared with adults, they can become seriously ill from COVID-19 and spread the virus when infected. Currently, 14 percent of total COVID-19 cases in the US have been reported in children and adolescents. But because of the high likelihood of under-reporting, CDC estimates the rate could actually be as high as 19 percent.

COVID-19 infection is also linked to a serious condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). This is when different systems in the body become inflamed and seriously affects different organs and systems including the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, and brain. Although rare, this complication can be very serious in children, often requiring intensive care in a hospital.

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?

Yes. This is true for all women — fertility problems have not been linked to any vaccine. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. Keeping yourself healthy by getting vaccinated is a good choice for women who want to have a baby in the future. You may get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you.

Dr. Christine Hahn is the state’s epidemiologist and the Division of Public Health’s medical director. She is board certified in infectious disease and works in the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho’s tuberculosis clinic twice monthly. She also serves on CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and since late February 2020, has been focusing almost solely on responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho, please:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Wear face coverings when appropriate
  • Keep at least six feet between you and others when appropriate
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes

Resources

Stay up-to-date with the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19 at the following websites:

DHW also posts lots of information, including daily updates on the numbers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.

One thought on “COVID-19 Q&A: Vaccine for 12-15 year-olds

  1. Pingback: COVID vaccines for kids: Where to go in eastern Idaho | Coronavirus - Ask Your Family Doc

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