Can kids experience side effects from getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
For those that have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, they're probably familiar with the side effects that follow the first and second injection:
The arm where the shot was given gets sore and there might be some swelling and redness at the injection site. The rest of the body might go through a bout of fatigue and tiredness, a headache, muscle pain, chills, and a fever. These are normal. It's extremely rare that any side effect becomes more serious.
But is it the same for children? With kids ages 5-11 now eligible to receive their own COVID-19 vaccine, what can they expect after getting their shot?
The short answer is, about the same as other people getting the shot.
Even with a lower dose, the side effects are about the same: aches in the arm where a child got the shot, a headache, muscle pain, fever, and chills, throughout the rest of the body. These are normal and a sign the body is responding to the vaccine by building immunity against COVID-19.
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Some kids have no side effects at all.
It may feel helpful to provide pain relievers to deal with any discomfort, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend this option. Instead, placing a cool, damp cloth over the injection site may aid with pain.
While not common, it is possible to suffer a severe allergic reaction to getting the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. This can cause a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, swelling in the throat, and a rash. This can be treated with epinephrine or an EpiPen. In the event of a reaction, the CDC doesn't recommend getting a second shot.
The small risk of an allergic reaction is why doctors that administer the vaccine will have people sit and wait 15 minutes before doing anything - just to make sure.