COVID-19 Vaccine Information
What do we do know about COVID-19 in children and youth?
- Children generally have a lower risk of severe illness with COVID, but severe cases do occur.
- Since the start of the pandemic, over 15,000 children and youth have been hospitalized and more than 300 have died from COVID-19 in the United States.
- As of May 3, 2021, there have been at least 3,742 cases of MIS-C , a rare but serious complication of COVID-19, in children and youth in the United States.
- Long-term effects of COVID-19 illness have been documented in young people, and their full extent is not yet understood.
Can my child get vaccinated?
What are the benefits of vaccination for youth?
- Vaccination prevents severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
- COVID-19 is likely to be with us for a long time. Most people who are not vaccinated are at very high risk of getting COVID-19, and the risk will only increase as indoor activities re-open. This may lead to another wave of COVID-19 in fall or winter. Youth who are vaccinated now should be protected if this occurs.
- The virus continues to change and new variants are circulating. We don’t yet know how emerging viral variants might affect children. The Pfizer vaccine works well against viral variants.
- Vaccinating as many eligible people as possible, including children, is the key to ending the pandemic.
- Youth who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 per CDPH guidance for fully vaccinated people. Youth who receive the Pfizer vaccine are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks or more after they received their second dose of Pfizer. Fully vaccinated youth who are exposed to COVID-19 will not have to miss up to 14 days of athletics, arts, academic, or other school-related programs.
- Fully vaccinated children and youth can socialize, return to school, and travel more easily than those who are not fully vaccinated. What’s more, youth who are fully vaccinated can socialize unmasked indoors or outdoors with their other fully vaccinated friends.
What changes after vaccination? Do youth 12+ still have to wear a mask to school?
- Two weeks after vaccination, the vaccine will protect 12 to 15 year-olds from being hospitalized if infected and it will prevent death from COVID-19.
- Just like adults, youth will be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose. Youth who receive the Pfizer vaccine are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks or more after they received their second dose of Pfizer.
- Fully vaccinated individuals should follow the CDPH guidance for fully vaccinated people and the one-page flyer “When Do You Need Your Mask” in English and Spanish. Until we get enough people vaccinated to protect our entire community, wear a mask if you don’t know the vaccination status of those around you, especially in outdoor or indoor crowded settings.
- People who are fully vaccinated don’t have to quarantine if they know they’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.
- Until further guidance from the state, fully vaccinated students who attend school in person will wear masks. We anticipate this guidance to evolve over the summer.
How do youth 12 to 17 consent to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?
You may read the full CDPH Pfizer Vaccine Minor Vaccination Guidance online or a summary of the guidance below. The ACPHD Pfizer Minor Consent Guidance is available on this website under “Resources.”
Per the California Department of Public Health Pfizer Vaccine Minor Consent Guidance, anyone younger than 18 years (a “minor”) must have a parent or legal guardian consent on their behalf prior to receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. A Relative Caregiver (e.g. someone who is 18 years or older and lives with the minor such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin) may provide consent after completing a Caregiver Affidavit Form.
An emancipated minor may consent for himself/herself/themselves.
A minor of 15 years or older may consent to their own medical care if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- The minor is 15 years of age or older.
- The minor is living separate and apart from the minor's parents or guardian, whether with or without the consent of a parent or guardian and regardless of the duration of the separate residence.
- The minor is managing their own financial affairs, regardless of the source of the minor's income.
Is the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe for youth?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15 year-olds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) vaccine safety review panel and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also concluded that the vaccine is safe and effective in protecting this age group against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Clinical trials showed that it is safe and effective for this age group, with only side effects like fatigue and headache.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine authorized for youth 12 to17 years old. The Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are authorized only for those 18 years and older.
There have been cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart) among youth after getting an mRNA vaccine. These have been mostly in male teens and young adults age 16 years or older within a few days of getting the second dose of vaccine. Most of the youth who received care responded well to medicine and rest and quickly felt better. CDC and its partners are actively monitoring reports of myocarditis and pericarditis, by reviewing data and medical records, to learn more. Safety monitoring systems are in place to collect information if more cases are detected. People can also get myocarditis and pericarditis with COVID-19 infection.
Youth should seek medical attention right away if they have any of the following symptoms after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart.
The CDC, the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others still recommend that anyone 12 and over get vaccinated as the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Enroll in the V-safe app from CDC. Anyone 16 and over can enroll themselves. V-safe is a smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. V-safe uses text messaging and surveys to check in with COVID-19 vaccine recipients after vaccination. Simply put, anyone with symptoms enters their information into V-safe so that researchers can continue to study the safety of the vaccine on all populations.
Vacuna para Niños y adolescentes Preguntas Frecuentes
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