A: Yes! The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine booster dose is recommended for children aged 5-11 years old.
A recent study showed that this booster dose is safe for children in this age group. There were no reports of myocarditis or deaths after the 3rd dose.
In May 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for a booster dose in children aged 5-11 years old. Between May 17 – July 31, 2022, over 650,000 children in this age group received their booster dose. Safety of the booster dose was evaluated by looking at V-safe and VAERS. V-safe is a voluntary smartphone-based app that was made to monitor the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) is a long-standing vaccine safety surveillance system run by the CDC and FDA.
What did they find?
The V-safe data showed that the rates of adverse events were similar following the second dose and the third dose. Most reported events were mild (most often injection site pain, fatigue, and headache) and typically occurred the day after vaccination. Kids were less likely to miss school right after dose 3 (6.9%) compared to dose 2 (10%) but were more likely to feel like they couldn’t complete daily activities after dose 3 (12.1%) compared to dose 2 (7.5%). No kids needed to go the hospital after the booster dose and there were no reported cases of myocarditis and death.
The most frequently reported events to VAERS were vaccine administration errors (like an incorrect dose was administered), which rarely result in any adverse health event. Other commonly reported side effects lined up with what was found in the V-safe data: fever, pain, and fatigue.
This is all great news and reinforces that booster shots are safe in children. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all children aged 5-11 get an mRNA booster dose 5 months after they complete the primary mRNA vaccine series. COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children, particularly (though not exclusively) in kids with underlying medical conditions. COVD-19 vaccines remain one of the most effective tools to prevent severe illness, but only 4.1% of kids in this age group in the US have received their booster. ☹ This data provides reassurance that boosters are safe, the vaccine safety monitoring system is working well, and hopefully encourage more folks to talk with their healthcare provider about booster shots in kiddos. Parents and families should plan on their kids feeling a little wonky for 1-2 days after the booster, but these symptoms typically resolve with some TLC and time. ❤️
Stay safe. Stay well.
Those Nerdy Girls