Updated January 19, 2022
Children and adolescents aged 5 years and older are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Similar to adults, children need two doses, at least three weeks apart, to be considered fully vaccinated. Everyone under 18 must get the Pfizer vaccine.
- 5-11 year-olds receive a dose that is one third of the adult dose.
- 12-17 year-olds receive the same dose as adults
Why should children get vaccinated?
A COVID-19 vaccination can:
- Help protect your child from getting infected with COVID-19 virus.
- Keep your child from getting seriously sick even if they do get COVID-19
- Keep your child in school and other activities and reduce child care challenges. Fully vaccinated children do not need to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19, unless they have symptoms
- Lower the chance of spreading COVID-19 to others
Parents may have questions and mixed feelings
Making the decision to vaccinate your child can be stressful. It can be helpful to take some time, make a list of questions, and talk to a trusted healthcare provider. Pediatricians, pharmacists, and school nurses can help answer your questions.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?
- The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was rigorously tested and reviewed, and more than 11 million adolescents ages 12-17 have already received the COVID-19 vaccine.
- In trials among about 3,000 children, the COVID-19 vaccine was found to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in 5-11 year olds.
- The vaccine and its safety for children was reviewed and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA continue to closely monitor the vaccine and follow up on any reported side effects.
Side effects after any vaccine are normal signs that the body is building protection. Common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine can include:
- a sore, red or swollen arm
- muscle pain
- fever, or
Call your provider if your child has chest pain, ongoing fatigue, or trouble breathing.
There were fewer side effects among children ages 5-11 than in the older groups.
Most side effects will go away after a few days. If they do not go away, call your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, call 211.
Myocarditis and other rare, but serious, complications
The risk of a serious adverse reaction after the COVID-19 vaccine is very low.
Myocarditis (heart inflammation) is a rare, but serious, condition that has developed in some teens and young adults (1 in 50,000) after a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Myocarditis is expected to be less common in younger children after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine because of the lower vaccine dose.
- The risk of developing myocarditis after a COVID-19 infection is much higher than the risk of developing myocarditis after the vaccine.
It is rare, but some people have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. All of these people received medical help right away. Just like adults, children and adolescents are asked to remain 15-30 minutes after the shot is given, to monitor for allergic reactions.
Where can children get vaccinated?
You can also check:
- Call 2-1-1 if you need additional help (interpreters are available)
COVID-19 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 a fee for giving you or your child the vaccine.
Parent or guardian consent
- 5-14 year-olds must be accompanied throughout the vaccine process by either a parent, a guardian or someone designated by the parent/guardian.
- If someone other than a parent or guardian accompanies the 5-14 year old, they will need to provide proof of parental/guardian consent. Download consent forms.
- 15-17 year-olds do not need to be accompanied, and do not require parental consent in the state of Oregon. We encourage adolescents to involve a parent or other trusted adult in their health care; however, in Oregon at age 15+, youth can make their own decisions to get a vaccine.
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