PFIZER VACCINE FOR AGES 5-11

PFIZER VACCINE FOR AGES 12+

Pfizer Vaccine for Ages 5-11

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA on October 29, 2021. As of February 2022, this is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for this age group.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. In a study of over 3,000 children ages 5 to 11 years old, the vaccine has been found to be safe, with side effects similar to those seen in adults including sore arm, redness at injection, fatigue, fever, chills, and headache. No serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study. 

As more and more children in this age group are vaccinated, the safety of these vaccines has been demonstrated in a large population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of December 19, 2021, 8.7 million children aged 5 to 11 years have received a vaccine and serious adverse events were rarely reported. In addition:

  • Side effects were common but mild and brief.
  • Few myocarditis cases have been reported.

    Is the vaccine effective?

    Vaccines provide increased protection against severe disease caused by COVID-19, but are less effective at preventing breakthrough infections of the highly contagious omicron variant compared to previous strains (vaccines are 90% effective in preventing infections from other variants). 

    Most people hospitalized from COVID-19 are unvaccinated individuals.

    What is the recommendation for immunocompromised children in this age group?

    The CDC recommends that people ages 5 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised receive an additional primary shot (third dose) of an mRNA vaccine 28 days after receiving their second dose.

    When will the vaccine be available?
    It’s available now! 

    Contact your doctor’s office or local pharmacy for more information or use the Washington State Department of Health vaccine locator to schedule your vaccines and boosters.

    What vaccine can children over 5 receive?

    Currently, children 5 through 11 can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, so be sure to search for that option when scheduling an appointment for your child.

    Where can children over 5 years old get vaccinated?

    Children can be vaccinated with parental consent at doctor’s offices, local pharmacies, mobile events, and school-based vaccination events. You can also use the Washington State Department of Health vaccine locator to schedule your vaccines and boosters.

    For more information, call Washington state’s COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #. Language assistance is available. You can also text your zip code to 438-823 (GET VAX) or 822-862 (VACUNA) for vaccine locations near you.

    Do those under 18 need consent to get the vaccine?

    Yes. Consent from a parent or guardian is necessary for anyone under 18 who wants to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.

    What is the recommended dosage for children 5 to 11?

    The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart. It is a lower dose (10 micrograms) compared to the Pfizer vaccine given to people 12 and older (which is 30 micrograms).

    How much does it cost?

    Nothing. COVID-19 vaccines are free for all individuals regardless of health insurance coverage, citizenship, or immigration status.

    What are the side effects?

    Potential side-effects typically arise 1-2 days after receiving either dose of the vaccine and are more likely to occur after the second dose. Side-effects are generally mild and can include: 

    • Sore muscles around injection site
    • Fatigue
    • Headache 
    • Mild fever

    These side-effects mean that the vaccine is working and typically subside in a few days. 

    Can my child still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

    Yes. The highly infectious omicron variant can infect people who have been fully vaccinated, but severe disease, hospitalization, and death are less likely for those who are up to date on their vaccinations.

    Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?

    No. None of the vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so they cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

    Will I get a positive COVID-19 test result because I’m vaccinated?

    No. Nothing in a COVID-19 test is going to pick up the vaccine; it’s only going to pick up a natural infection. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.

    What is Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

    An EUA is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.

    The FDA decision to grant EUA for COVID-19 vaccines is based on the totality of scientific evidence available showing that the product may be effective to prevent COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product. All of these criteria must be met to allow for the product to be used in the treatment of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Learn more about the rigorous testing and manufacturing criteria necessary for EUA on the FDA’s website.

    Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock and FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks discuss the FDA’s decision to grant EUA for the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11.

    Pfizer Vaccine and Booster for Ages 12 and Up

    The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for Emergency Use Authorization for children 12 to 15 on May 10, 2021 and fully approved for ages 16 and up on August 23, 2021. As of February 2022, this is the only vaccine approved for people under 18.

    Everyone 12 years of age and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a booster dose 5 months after receiving an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or 2 months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

    The CDC recommends that all eligible people 12 and older receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna booster) and recipients of the one-dose J&J vaccine receive a second dose, preferably of an mRNA vaccine.

    Additionally, the CDC recommends that people ages 5 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised receive an additional primary shot (third dose) of an mRNA vaccine 28 days after receiving their second dose. Those 12 and older who receive an additional dose should also get a booster dose when they are eligible, equaling a total of four doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

    Is the vaccine and booster safe?

    Yes. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and booster met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.

    As millions of Americans have become vaccinated, the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines have been exhibited in a real-world scenario. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. The CDC recommends that all eligible individuals stay up to date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster and/or additional doses, when eligible.

    Is the vaccine & booster effective?

    Yes, vaccines and boosters provide increased protection against severe disease caused by COVID-19, but breakthrough infections of the highly contagious omicron variant can occur.

    • COVID-19 vaccinations help protect people from getting sick or severely ill, but protection can decrease over time, especially for older people. 
    • Boosters provide a high level of protection against severe disease caused by COVID-19
    •  including the omicron variant.
    • According to the CDC, booster shots are 90% effective against hospitalization due to omicron infection and also reduce the likelihood of an emergency room or urgent care visit.
    • The CDC recommends that all eligible people 12 and older receive a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at least 5 months after completing the primary series and recipients of the one-dose J&J vaccine receive a second dose, preferably of an mRNA vaccine, at least 2 months after receiving their primary shot.

    Watch Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, discuss why you should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

    Is the dosing schedule for the Pfizer vaccine the same for kids and adults?

    Yes, but the dosage may vary depending on age group:

    • All ages 12 and up receive two doses of the vaccine 21 days apart. Individuals are fully protected 2 weeks after the second shot. 
    • The vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart. It is a lower dose (10 micrograms) compared to the Pfizer vaccine given to people 12 and older (which is 30 micrograms).

    Booster shots for ages 12 and up can be administered 5 months after the second dose of vaccine. The FDA recommends that immunocompromised children between 5 and 11 receive a booster shot 28 days after their second dose of vaccine.

    How much does it cost?

    Nothing. COVID-19 vaccines are free for all individuals regardless of health insurance coverage, citizenship, or immigration status.

    What are the side-effects?

    Potential side-effects typically arise 1-2 days after receiving either dose of the vaccine and are more likely to occur after the second dose. Side-effects are generally mild and can include: 

    • Sore muscles around injection site
    • Fatigue
    • Headache 
    • Mild fever

    These side-effects mean that the vaccine is working and typically subside in a few days.

    Can I still get COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated?

    Yes. The highly infectious omicron variant can infect people who have been fully vaccinated but severe disease is less likely for those who are fully vaccinated. Most people hospitalized from COVID-19 are unvaccinated. 

    Booster shots increase protection against severe disease and hospitalization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), booster shots are 90% effective against hospitalization due to omicron infection and also reduce the likelihood of an emergency room or urgent care visit.

    The CDC recommends that all eligible people 12 and older receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna booster) and recipients of the one-dose J&J vaccine receive a second dose, preferably of an mRNA vaccine.

    Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?

    No. None of the vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so they cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

    Will I get a positive COVID-19 test result because I’m vaccinated?

    No. Nothing in a COVID-19 test is going to pick up the vaccine; it’s only going to pick up a natural infection. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. 

    Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock and FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks discuss the FDA’s decision to grant EUA for the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-17.