What to Know About Covid-19 Vaccines for Children Ages 5-11

A new recommendation means approximately 28 million children in the United States, ages 5 to 11, can now receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the recommendations on November 2 after extensive review of the impacts and side effects of the vaccine for children in the age group. That review determined the Pfizer vaccine to be nearly 91% effective in preventing Covid-19 among children 5 to 11.

Danielle Wales, MD, MPH, associate professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, sees patients at the Albany Med Internal Medicine and Pediatrics practice in Cohoes. She says the recommendations, along with the first doses of the vaccine to kids this week, are important steps in the return to normalcy.

“Getting the vaccine for these younger children is important for their health,” said Dr. Wales. “The second advantage is that it keeps families safe, specifically if they are visiting grandparents who may be at risk.”

Dr. Wales adds the vaccines can play a major role in keeping kids healthy and in school so that they don’t miss extended periods of time for more severe illnesses or because they have to quarantine due to Covid-19.

The CDC reports that the most common side effect for children monitored in the 5 to 11 age group was a sore arm. Dr. Wales says parents who take their children to get vaccinated should be aware of any other potential side effects that may pop up such as fatigue, headache, low-grade fever and other flu-like symptoms. She says those symptoms have appeared in kids ages 12 and up who have already received the vaccine.

“If parents have concerns or questions, they should reach out to their pediatrician,” Dr. Wales says.

Following the release of the CDC recommendations, pediatric offices within the Albany Med Health System started administering doses of the vaccine to their current patients. Parents are urged to reach out to their child’s pediatrician for more information about how offices will be administering the vaccine, as many offices have started planning vaccine clinics for their patients.

  • Community locations such as CVS, Walgreens and Hannaford have also updated their websites to allow for scheduling.
  • The vaccination site located at Crossgates Mall in Albany will not be vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 at this time.