COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids Ages 5-11
Updated November 3, 2021
As of November 2, 2021, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that children ages 5-11 be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine, which is a two-series mRNA vaccine (similar to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines offered to individuals 12 and older).
Where and when can I take my child to be vaccinated?
Distribution of pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations started this week across the country, with plans to scale up to full capacity starting the week of November 8, 2021. Vaccines will be available at thousands of pediatric healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and more.
At UMass Memorial Health, initially we will only be offering the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine in a limited capacity through appointments only to current pediatric patients at two of our pediatric practices. Caregivers of those eligible patients will receive a message through MyChart when they are able to make an appointment. We expect to begin offering the vaccine to those patients the week of November 8, 2021.
Many area pharmacies, including those at drug store chains (CVS, Walgreens) and grocery stores (Price Chopper,Shaw’s) are also offering the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. You can learn more about how to make an appointment at those and other locations on the Massachusetts Vaxfinder website.
Is the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Like what was seen in adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5-11 years. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm.
Do kids in this age group get sick from COVID-19?
Yes, they can. COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalizations, deaths, MIS-C (inflammatory syndromes) and long-term complications, such as “long COVID,” in which symptoms can linger for months. The spread of the Delta variant resulted in a surge of COVID-19 cases in children throughout the summer. During a six-week period in late June to mid-August, COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and adolescents increased fivefold. Vaccination, along with other preventative measures, can protect children from COVID-19 using the safe and effective vaccines already recommended for use in adolescents and adults in the United States.
Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reducing their risk of severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications. Getting your children vaccinated can help protect them against COVID-19, as well as reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission.