The CDC has given final approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 – 11. We now have pediatric COVID-19 vaccines available and interested families can schedule appointments through MyDMGHealth/MyChart as supply allows.
We are vaccinating children by appointment at our large vaccine site in Lisle, at 801 Ogden Avenue, which will allow for safe distancing and importantly, close observation of children following vaccination by our skilled care team members. We will expand locations over time and add walk-in service as supply permits.
So long as vaccine supply is ample, we look forward to protecting our young patients and expect an efficient and convenient process for their parents.
January 6, 2022 — Consistent with prior recommendations for adults, the CDC is recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5 – 11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5 – 11.
Will the dosing be the same?
The current Pfizer vaccine that has received Emergency Use Authorization will be 10mcg or 1⁄3rd of the dose given to individuals aged 12yo and up. There will be 2 doses, 21 days apart. This vaccine is NOT weight-based but rather based on immune system age/maturity so the 10mcg dose will be appropriate for your child regardless of their weight.
Why should my child get this vaccine? I thought children were low risk.
There have been over 6 million COVID illnesses in children in the United States. Up to 30% of children sick enough to be hospitalized had NO underlying health issues or risk factors. There have been over 600 pediatric deaths due to COVID with over 100 pediatric deaths in this age group alone. Although children are at low risk for severe COVID illness, hospitalization, and death, they remain at risk for post-COVID or COVID long-haul syndromes with symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, poor appetite, etc., lasting for weeks to months after even mild cases of COVID.
How effective is this vaccine?
Studies show this vaccine is >90% effective at preventing all symptomatic COVID illness in clinical trials. These vaccines work well against circulating Delta variant as well as previous variants of concern.
Can this vaccine be given at the same time as my child’s influenza vaccine or other scheduled vaccines?
Yes. COVID vaccines can be given at the same time as the influenza vaccine or any other scheduled childhood immunization.
What are the expected side effects?
Vaccine side effects are common but generally mild. Children in these trials experienced fevers, headaches, fatigue, chills, and generalized body aches. Some children experienced swollen lymph nodes and GI upset/diarrhea. There were no severe side effects reported in these clinical trials. Similar to older kids and adults, children will be asked to wait for 15 minutes after receipt of their vaccines, 30 minutes if there is a history of anaphylaxis.
What about myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)?
Myocarditis is a very rare side effect that appears to be more common in young male patients and more common after the 2nd dose of vaccine. In the Pfizer study that led to Emergency Use Authorization for this vaccine, there were NO cases of myocarditis among the ~1500 study participants who received active vaccine product. It is expected, based on data for adolescents and young adults, that there will be ~1 case of myocarditis per 38,000 doses of vaccine given. When this rare side effect occurs, it is generally within 7 days of vaccine and presents with chest discomfort and fevers. No children have died of COVID vaccine-induced myocarditis and, in general, myocarditis due to vaccine is milder than myocarditis due to COVID infection.
What about long-term side effects of mRNA vaccines?
Long-term side effects are very unlikely based on how mRNA vaccines work and the evidence we have gathered from millions of doses of the vaccine already administered worldwide. Tiny fragments of mRNA are contained in a lipid (fat) particle and delivered into the muscle. The lipid particle helps prevent the mRNA from breaking down during delivery. Within a few hours, the lipid dissolves and releases the mRNA to deliver the message for cells to start making spike proteins. mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell where DNA is stored, and it cannot change a person’s DNA. mRNA itself also cannot be converted to DNA. After this message is delivered to the cells, mRNA completely disintegrates and is cleared from the body within 72 hours. For as long as we have had vaccines in history, all serious vaccine events occur within 6 – 8 weeks of a vaccine’s administration. We now have more than 1 year of vaccine data showing these vaccines are safe and effective.
Are there any risks to future fertility?
Studies in individuals of reproductive age show no decreases in sperm counts and no increased risk of miscarriage. To date, there have been thousands of successful pregnancies after vaccination. For young people who have begun menstruating there could be a temporary change in menstrual cycles due to the mounting of an immune response to the vaccine. At present, experts in obstetrics, gynecology, and maternal-fetal medicine all endorse receipt of the COVID vaccine.
What if my child has already had COVID? Don’t they already have antibodies?
Studies show that natural immunity is both quite high and fairly common in children. Similar to vaccine protection over time, however, natural immunity wanes. Natural immunity also makes antibodies less predictably, and it currently appears the vaccine is more protective against current COVID variants. Receiving the COVID vaccine after COVID illness also strengthens the immune system response. There is no need to “wait” to receive the vaccine after COVID illness, as soon as your child has recovered symptomatically and has completed quarantine, it is OK to receive the COVID vaccine.