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A MATTER OF HEALTH: Prepping 5- to 11-year-olds for COVID-19 vaccinations

A Twin Cities pediatrician offers parents and guardians helpful advice on how to best prepare young children for Coronavirus immunizations.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Top health experts agree the recent approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-to-11 is an exciting development to make our communities safer. On Oct. 29, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for a child-size dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in kids. Children ages 5 through 11 years can receive one-third of the adult dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and they receive their dose in smaller needles designed specifically for children.

The COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight, but by age on the day of vaccination. “We follow the CDC in recommending everyone ages 5 and older get a vaccine to help protect against the virus. Children will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine three weeks after their first shot," said Dr. Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, UCare chief medical officer. 

Children, like many adults, are often fearful of getting shots.

“If your child is anxious about the new vaccine, let them know what to expect and remind them it’s just like a routine immunization. Talk to your child before their vaccine about what they can expect and possible after effects, such as a sore arm, tiredness, headache that will go away quickly. Remind your child how well they’ve handled other vaccines,” adds Joseph-Di Caprio.

“Explain how the vaccine protects your child and their family, friends and schoolmates, and allows them to safely participate in school and sports activities,” said Joseph-Di Caprio. Soon child vaccines will be available more widely in pediatricians’ offices, pharmacies, hospitals and schools. 

The Biden administration is promising 15 million doses will be available nationwide by mid-November. Parents can also schedule their child’s flu shot at the same time of their COVID-19 vaccination.

In this month’s Matter of Health segment, Joseph-Di Caprio has more on why it’s so important to get children vaccinated and shares tips on how to best prepare kids for getting their COVID-19 shots.