Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 years

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On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include children ages 5 through 11 years. 

The vaccine was studied in approximately 3,100 children aged 5 through 11, without reported serious side effects. No cases of myocarditis occurred during the clinical trials in this group age. The most common side effects were pain at the injection site, redness, swelling, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. It was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19.  Children, 5-11 years of age will receive\ 1/3 (10 micrograms) of the dose used for children older than 12 years and adults. 

Because there is no evidence at this time of any association between GBS or CIDP relapses in children this age, the recommendation is to receive the 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, administered 3 weeks apart.

We are seeing more cases of COVID-19 hospitalizations in younger children without any risk factors like obesity or asthma. Although COVID-19 infection is usually milder in children, it is essential to understand the risks of long-term complications and death.

We understand parents may feel afraid because of how new this vaccine is. According to OurWorldInData.org, (a scientific online publication that is in collaboration with the University of Oxford) more than 3.1 billion people have been vaccinated worldwide, and at least 900,000 children between 5-11 years of age have already received the first dose.  When deciding, consider the higher risk of your child getting severely sick with COVID-19 infection vs. the minimal risk of severe side effects.