Image of the COVID-19 vaccine and SARS-Cov-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Credit: Getty Images
Adolescents 12 years old and up can now get a COVID-19 vaccine.
On May 10, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently recommended the vaccine for youth in that age group.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and School of Public Health experts strongly recommend everyone 12 years old and older get a COVID vaccine. They agree that the emergency use authorization is an important step to protect the community from COVID-19, including another layer of protection in advance of kids returning to in-person school in the fall.
Results of the recent preliminary Pfizer study of 2,260 volunteers ages 12 to 15 found no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated kids in that age group. Pfizer reported that adolescents had side effects similar to young adults, including pain, fever, chills and fatigue, particularly after the second dose.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine may also be authorized for children ages 2 to 11 years old as early as fall 2021. The vaccine by Moderna is authorized for people 18 and older, and children younger than 18 years old are currently enrolled in their trials. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is authorized for those 18 years and up, and the company had expanded its clinical trial to children as young as 12 years old.
For children who aren’t able to get a vaccine yet, Johns Hopkins experts say the best way parents can reduce the chance of their child catching COVID-19 is by continuing to practice prevention measures, such as wearing face masks and maintaining safe physical distance from others, as well as practicing appropriate hand hygiene.