COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids

The CDC recommends the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months and older.

Additionally, the CDC has issued additional guidance for people ages 6 months and older who are moderately or severely immunosuppressed.

Although children are at lower risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 compared to adults, they can still get very sick, develop long-term health complications, and spread the virus to others. Getting vaccinated can help minimize children’s risk.

Two of SolutionHealth’s pediatricians, Danielle Dunetz, DO, FAAP, of Southern New Hampshire Health, and Holly Mintz, MD, of Elliot Health System, recently answered several frequently asked questions that parents and caregivers have about vaccinating children in this age group. Click here to watch their Q&A.

 

How can my child get vaccinated?

Appointments for children ages 5 to 11 can be scheduled at a local pharmacy here: Find COVID-19 Vaccines.

Click here for more information on Southern New Hampshire Health/Foundation Medical Partners vaccine offerings.

Click here for more information on Elliot Health System vaccine offerings.

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Who can get a booster shot?

Everyone ages 5 years and older should get a booster vaccine after completing their COVID-19 vaccine primary series.

Adults ages 50 years and older and people ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get two booster vaccines.

Use this tool to find out when you can get your booster.

For a list of locations and to schedule your booster shot visit: Find COVID-19 Vaccines.

 

Which booster shot can I get?

The CDC recommends the Pfizer and Moderna boosters for adults ages 18 and older. A Johnson & Johnson booster should only be considered in some situations. The CDC recommends a Pfizer booster for children ages five years and older.

 

Who can get a 3rd dose (non-booster)?

The CDC recommends a 3rd primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 6 months and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

 

How do I get the vaccine?

  • All qualifying New Hampshire residents can schedule a vaccination appointment by clicking this link: Find COVID-19 Vaccines.
  • Patients with an Elliot Health System primary care providercan call their doctor’s office for an appointment to receive the vaccine.
  • Patients with a Southern New Hampshire Health/Foundation Medical Partners primary care providercan call their provider’s office to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Vaccine

It is strongly recommended that you get vaccinated. The vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19. If you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine may prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect people around you. 

There may be side effects, but they should go away within a few days. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. This does not mean you have COVID-19. Side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity. If they don’t go away in a week, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor. 

Because vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection (immune response), some people experience symptoms of a real infection without being infected. In clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccines were found to cause side effects like fatigue, chills, fever, muscle and joint pain, and headache (in addition to injection site pain and swelling) in some people. These side effects are temporary and are a normal part of our bodies building immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. 

Yes. The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last. 

No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

In most cases, yes. The CDC recommends that people with a history of allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications – such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies – get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions can also get vaccinated. 

People who have had an allergic reaction to other types of vaccines should ask their primary care provider if they can get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

People who are allergic to any vaccine ingredient, including PEG or polysorbate, should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Ingredient lists are available for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

Yes. The CDC advises that people with autoimmune conditions may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. However, please be aware that no data are currently available on the safety of mRNA vaccines for this population, though they were eligible for enrollment in clinical trials. 

Yes. Current data suggest that people with weakened immune systems due to illnesses or medication might be at increased risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 and should be vaccinated.

However, people with weakened immune systems may have a reduced immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine and should continue practicing other safety precautions, like masking and social distancing.

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be safe for pregnant people. Additionally, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine both strongly recommend that all pregnant people be vaccinated.

According to SolutionHealth’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists, Gary Kaufman, MD, and Bethany Hart, DO, “Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-related complications for both mother and baby.  Vaccination may also help you pass anti-COVID-19 antibodies to your baby thru the umbilical cord and breastmilk.  If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you should strongly consider a COVID-19 vaccine.  There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta.  So far, more than 139,000 pregnant people have been vaccinated and there have been no increased risks of miscarriage, growth problems or birth defects.  In addition, there is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.”

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Your child cannot get COVID-19 from any vaccine.

Studies have shown that children in this age group experience side effects at rates similar to those seen in teens and adults. There were no significant adverse events or deaths in the trials testing the Pfizer vaccine in young children.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the FDA for use in children ages 6 months and older. The CDC recommends all children in this age group receive the vaccine.

Three COVID-19 vaccines are used in the U.S. to prevent COVID-19. Pfizer and Moderna are COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. They are preferred and are available for individuals ages 6 months and older. Adults ages 18 years and older may get Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations.

Other vaccines have been approved for use in other countries and there are dozens of other vaccines currently in various stages of development and testing.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines that are administered in two doses. The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine that is administered in one dose.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved for use in people ages 6 months and older. The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for people 18 years of age and older.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been found to be more effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19 than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For that reason, the CDC endorses a preference for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccines work by tricking our bodies into thinking we have been infected by a virus so our infection-fighting blood cells will produce protective antibodies against the virus without us actually becoming infected.

The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It uses a modified virus to deliver a gene that instructs our cells to make a protein that triggers the production of antibodies and an immune response. The virus used in the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine cannot cause illness in humans.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. Instead of using a weakened or inactivated virus to trigger an immune response, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that prompts antibody production and an immune response. The first dose of the vaccine helps our immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. mRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.

Though the COVID-19 vaccines were developed rapidly, all steps have been taken to ensure their safety and effectiveness. In the United States, the FDA and CDC continue to monitor vaccine safety to ensure any long-term side effects are identified and appropriate action is taken.

Yes.

As of June 21, 2022, nearly 600 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States. The vaccines are safe and effective. They were evaluated in clinical trials and were approved for use after meeting the FDA’s rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. The vaccines continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.

Serious reactions after vaccination are rare. Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about what you need to know about adverse events reported after COID-19 vaccination.

Ultimately, the potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.

Vaccine recipients have the opportunity to enroll in v-safe. This is a smartphone tool you can use to tell the CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you report serious side effects, someone from CDC will call to follow up. You will be provided with enrollment instructions when you receive your first shot. You can also find instructions here.

Individuals can also report any side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Under typical circumstances, vaccines undergo many years of laboratory testing, clinical trials, and review before being approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, due to the urgency and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the currently available vaccines were developed in less than a year and received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. EUA allows vaccines to bypass the multi-year process and be used during public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though these vaccines were developed and approved on an accelerated timeline, they were still rigorously tested for safety and efficacy. The FDA does not approve vaccines that are not proven safe and effective during clinical trials.

More information about how vaccines are developed and available by EUA can be found here, here, and here.

Your body’s normal, healthy response to the COVID-19 vaccine may involve enlargement of the lymph nodes, particularly in the underarm on the side of the injection. This may be picked up on your screening mammogram and additional testing may be required. To avoid unnecessary stress, Dr. Marina Feldman, a radiologist who specializes in breast imaging and Director of Breast Imaging at the Elliot Breast Health Center, suggests if you are due for a screening mammogram, you should schedule the mammogram prior to vaccination or six weeks after your vaccination is complete. Annual screening mammograms are your best defense against breast cancer and should not be skipped. However, if you need to reschedule your screening mammogram due to your vaccination timeline, call 603.608.3067 (Manchester & Londonderry) or 603.577.2665 (Nashua).

Yes. According to Dr. Marina Feldman of the Elliot Breast Health Center, you should get the vaccination in the arm opposite your surgical side. If both sides were involved, the injection can be administered in your buttocks or thigh.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. are effective against COVID-19, including serious outcomes of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. While vaccinated individuals can still become infected by any variant of the virus, available evidence suggests that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines offer the most protection against both infection and hospitalization caused by all strains of the virus. A third dose of an mRNA vaccine, or booster shot, increases effectiveness against severe disease and hospitalization even more.

In other words, the vaccines are effective against the most severe outcomes of the virus, so, while a vaccinated and boosted person may become infected with the virus, they will likely have a milder case and be less likely to transmit the virus to others.

The CDC recommends that all individuals ages 5 years and older receive a booster vaccine. Adults ages 50 years and older and people ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive two booster vaccines.

Visit the CDC’s website to determine when you can get a booster and which booster you can get.

Here are some trusted sources for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

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