Everyone ages five and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting your child immunized will protect them from getting COVID-19 and protect others around them. Vaccines are safe, effective, and free. The New Mexico Department of Health has taken time to address some common questions and concerns parents may have about COVID-19 vaccinations for their children. This information is from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ad Council: COVID Collaborative.
How do the COVID-19 vaccines work for kids?
The COVID-19 vaccine works similarly to other vaccines your child may have had. The vaccine teaches the immune system to recognize and make antibodies to fight the virus. After being immunized, kids will have strong protection against COVID-19. Clinical trials with children aged 5-11 found the Pfizer vaccine to be 91% effective at preventing sickness from COVID-19 and provides strong protection against serious illness.
Why are doses different for kids aged 11 or younger?
For kids aged 5 to 11, it’s important to note that the doses of each vaccine are actually smaller than the amount that an adult would receive— just 10 micrograms (or one-third of the dose for older ages). Clinical trials found that smaller doses created a strong immune response in kids while helping ensure safety.
Doses are based on age (rather than weight) because vaccines do not travel through the bloodstream to go to all parts of the body like other medicines. Instead, immune system cells go to the injection site and create an immune response.
Are there any long-term side effects on children?
Serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following a COVID-19 vaccine. Studies with children ages 5 to 11 did not find any evidence of long-term side effects.
Additionally, there has been no evidence of COVID-19 vaccines affecting puberty, fertility, or reproductive health. Medical experts are confident that the vaccines are safe for growing bodies.
If my child or teen has a disability, is it still recommended they get the COVID-19 vaccine?
CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that all children over age 5 or older get immunized against COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible. Children and teens with a disability may be at increased risk for more severe illness and complications from getting COVID-19. This makes it even more important for them to be vaccinated.
Please talk with your child’s pediatrician to discuss any concerns you may have.
How do I schedule a COVID-19 vaccine for my child?
Click here for a step-by-step process on how to add children and dependents to your profile and then schedule their appointment.