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FACT FINDERS: Can the COVID vaccine cause adverse events in young kids?

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 6:07 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Now that 5 to 11-year-olds are cleared to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, some parents are concerned about adverse events from the shot.

Since COVID does tend to hit older people harder and be more mild in younger people, many parents may have some hesitations about getting their young kids vaccinated. One worry is, what if their child has an adverse reaction to the vaccine like myocarditis?

Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunobiologist with the University of Arizona, says the trial for young children was not very big and so one question is was it enough to be able to see any rare reactions?

He thinks, with the information we have for that age bracket combined with what we know about reactions in 12 to 17-year-olds, he does not expect there are going to be problems with this young age group. He also emphasizes this dose is much smaller than the dose teenagers are getting.

”If you look at the early adverse events it’s actually a lot less for kids than it is for say 12 to 17-year-olds who are getting the adult dose. So, to the extent that the early side effects correlate with anything that happens later, I would expect that if there’s anything that happens it’s going to be extremely rare in this age bracket,” he said.

According to the FDA Review of Effectiveness and Safety of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age, some of the most common reactions were pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and new or worsened muscle pain. There were also no reports of myocarditis, pericarditis, or anaphylaxis and no participant deaths.

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