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Adolescents and the COVID-19 Vaccine (252.33 KB)

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Three youth wearing masks looking forwardUpdated June 22, 2021

The Pfizer (or Pfizer BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine authorized for use by people under the age of 18. If you’re under 18, look for an appointment at a location that has access to the Pfizer vaccine. 12-14-year-olds: work with your parent or guardian to get the vaccine.

Why should I get vaccinated if I am 12 to 17 years old?

Although older people are considered to be more at risk of getting very sick from COVD-19, since January 2021, the number of new cases and hospitalizations in Oregonians aged 10 to 19 is growing. Vaccines lower your chances of getting severe COVID-19, and they lower the chances of passing the virus to your loved ones.

Another reason to get a COVID-19 vaccine is to protect the health of the community. Each person infected with the coronavirus provides a chance for the virus to change or ‘mutate’ and create a variant that might prove more dangerous or resistant to the available vaccines and therapies. Fewer overall infections in the community means less chance of dangerous coronavirus variants. 

Do I need a parent or guardian to come with me when I get the vaccine? Do I need a consent form? 

We encourage you to involve a parent or other trusted adult in your health care; however, at age 15+ you can make the decision yourself to get a vaccine.

What should I do if my parents or guardians don’t support me getting the vaccine?

Multnomah County Health Department staff encourage youth to talk with a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult when seeking medical services.

Youth who are 15 years or older are able to consent on their own to medical and dental services without parental permission. This includes immunizations.

Many young people are eager to help protect their families and communities from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated themselves.

What are the side effects?Side effects include soreness at the injection site, tiredness or a headache

Many people develop some soreness at the injection site. Tiredness and headache are also common. Less common are muscle aches, chills, joint pain, vomiting, or fever. These side effects mostly go away after a day or two. If they do not go away, call your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, call 211.

Is the vaccine safe for teens?

Yes, the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective. It was tested in thousands of study participants and produced enough data to convince the FDA to authorize it for emergency use. Tell your vaccine provider if you’ve ever had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine in the past. Talk to your doctor about getting a vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Watch for any changes in your health and call your provider if you are unwell (especially chest pain, ongoing fatigue, trouble breathing). If you have a reaction following a vaccination tell your healthcare provider and report an Adverse Event using the VAERS online form. Parents and guardians can also enroll adolescents in V-safe and complete health check-ins on their behalf after COVID-19 vaccination.

Do I need to get both doses?

Yes. Pfizer is a two-dose vaccine, given at least 3 weeks apart. You should complete both doses for the strongest protection against Covid-19, especially with the new variants present in Oregon and the U.S. vaccines are free

Does the vaccine cost money?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is free.

The vaccines will be provided at no cost to you. You do not need health insurance. If you have health insurance, vaccine providers may charge your insurance company an administration fee for giving you the vaccine. This means that you might be asked for your insurance information when you get your vaccine. But you don’t need to provide your insurance card to be vaccinated. 

Can I get vaccinated at school?

Youth and their families can get a vaccine at Parkrose Student Health Center or one of several pop-up events at schools this summer.  Drop in from 9:30am - 4pm or call 503-988-3392 to schedule an appointment.

  • Parkrose High School Student Health Center open Monday-Friday all summer 
  • Reynolds Middle School pop-up clinics Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26
  • Centennial High School Student Health Center pop-up clinics on Tuesday, June 29 and Tuesday, July 20
  • Roosevelt High School Student Health Center pop-up clinics Wednesday, June 30 and Wednesday, July 21

Student Health Centers: Locations and Hours

Can I schedule my own COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

Yes, check with your medical office if you have one. There are also many vaccine events hosted by community organizations and by Multnomah County on different days and different locations. Call 211 (or text ORVAX to 898211) to find out what is currently available. Also, visit OHA’s webpage How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon or the CDC’s website VaccineFinder.gov

Upcoming Multnomah County clinics

What do I need to know before I show up for my appointment?

Proof of eligibility or identification is not required, but you might want to bring your student id just in case. However, you will not be denied a vaccination if you don’t have identification with you.