Talking to tweens/teens (ages 12-17) about the COVID-19 vaccine is difficult!

Families/Kids Vaccines

Here are a few answers to common questions to help you talk to the young people in your life!

➡️ Do young people get COVID-19?

Yes, they do. People under 18 make up 17% of all the COVID-19 cases we have seen since the start of the pandemic and almost 25% of the cases from the week of November 25!

➡️ Do young people get sick?

Yes, they do. While they may not get as sick as adults, older children are more likely to get sick and be hospitalized. Over 500 children have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. and it is a top 10 cause of death in adolescents. Even if young people don’t get hospitalized they can still be at risk of long term effects or “long COVID-19,” which can really impact how a young person functions on a daily basis.

➡️ Which vaccine can I get?

If you are between the ages of 5-11 or 12-17, you can get the Pfizer vaccine. If you are 18 or older, you can get Pfizer, Moderna, or the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

➡️ What is the benefit of getting the vaccine?

The vaccine helps to prevent you from getting sick from COVID-19, especially getting really sick where you would need to get hospitalized. It prevents people from dying from COVID-19. It also decreases the chance that you can spread COVID-19 to your friends and family. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely the disease is to spread, and the sooner we hope we can get back to some of our favorite activities. It is important to remember that vaccines are one way to protect ourselves from the disease. We also should still wear masks, favor outdoor activities, and take other steps to #STAYSMART.

➡️ Was the COVID-19 vaccine for young people rushed?

No! Actually scientists have been working on this type of vaccine for over 10 years. It was developed quickly because: we already knew about this type of vaccine, we started getting the resources together early, we had a lot of cases (so we could try it out on a lot of people), we overlapped phases of research (which is not uncommon), and the risks of the vaccine were pretty low relative to how much they would make a difference. At least 50% of all young people ages 12-17 have received the COVID-19 vaccine, yay!

➡️ Is the vaccine safe?

Yes! From the information we have from the trials, we know that side effects were pretty mild like headaches, fevers, and chills after getting the vaccine. Heart inflammation or “myocarditis” was pretty rare and went away within a short amount of time after getting the vaccine. This mostly happens among teen males, more after the second dose of the vaccine, and usually within a week of the vaccine. It is important to know that the risk of getting myocarditis after having COVID-19 disease is a lot higher. Also, longer term side effects have not been seen. Given the history of vaccines and what we know about how they work, long term side effects are really unlikely.

➡️ Does the vaccine work?

Yes, the vaccine works to lower the risk of people getting sick, hospitalized, and dying. Among young people who were in the research studies, none of them had severe COVID-19 at the end. That is a big deal! Also, young people ages 12-17 who are vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalized than young people who are not vaccinated (10 times less likely).

➡️ Do I need the vaccine if I already had COVID-19?

Yes! Even though you have some protection from having been infected, scientists don’t know how well this works or how long it lasts. Getting the vaccine gives you a stronger and more predictable immune response that lasts longer. Once you recover from COVID-19 and are out of your isolation period, you can get your vaccine!

➡️ What about other rumors I have heard about the COVID-19?

There are a lot of myths out there. There are no chips in the vaccine. There are not fetal cells in the vaccine. There are so many others that we can’t name them all here. We recommend looking for good sources like those from the CDC to check and see if the information is true. Here is a great list of myths and facts from the CDC, designed especially for young people. It is also good to talk to trusted health care clinicians like your family physician, pediatrician, or school nurse about questions you have! They are happy to answer them too! Finally, check your sources. If you want to make sure something is true, here are some great tips. We love these great tips from CBC kids news as well.

📰 We hope this helps our young people stay safe and informed.

Stay Safe. Stay Sane.

With Love,
Those Nerdy Girls

Additional information:

Vaccines approved for children and adolescents

Great plain language information on COVID-19 vaccines

Tips for talking to Teens/Adolescents about Vaccines

Percentage of cases in young people

Recent study of who gets sick

Who is hospitalized

Causes of death

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