Talking Points for Pediatricians/Family Physicians
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Vaccination is the best thing you can do to protect your child from the dangers of COVID.
COVID can be dangerous for your child.
Among children infected with COVID in the United States, many have been hospitalized and thousands have died.
Children with certain health issues have a greater chance of getting very sick from COVID, including:
- Sickle cell disease
COVID can also cause Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. It’s a rare but serious illness that involves painful swelling in different parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, and brain. Thousands of children with COVID have also had MIS-C.
There’s no way to know how COVID will affect your child. Even if your child is perfectly healthy, your child can still get very sick from COVID. Many children hospitalized with COVID had no other health issues.
Even if your child has a mild case of COVID, your child can still have long-term health problems.
Estimates vary, but as many as 1 in 4 children who get COVID can have new or lingering symptoms that last for weeks or months after infection. Long COVID symptoms in children include:
- Sleep problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Joint and muscle pain
Every child 6 months and older should get vaccinated against COVID as soon as possible.
This is the recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as leading national health care groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The COVID vaccines for children are safe.
COVID vaccines for children were thoroughly tested, and CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely reviewed the data.
Thousands of children participated in the clinical trials. Among those who received a vaccine, it was shown to be safe.
Millions of children in the United States have gotten a COVID vaccine.
COVID vaccines are the most closely monitored vaccines in U.S. history. And the FDA and CDC continue to monitor the safety of COVID vaccines, including among children.
Children who’ve gotten a COVID vaccine have the same common side effects as adults. Common side effects include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling where you got your shot
- Muscle pain
These side effects are normal and typically last for a couple days after vaccination.
A COVID vaccine won’t harm your child’s growth and development, including as your child goes through puberty.
There’s no evidence that any vaccine available in the United States, including COVID vaccines, cause long-term health problems.
On very rare occasions, people have had myocarditis or pericarditis following COVID vaccination. Myocarditis and pericarditis are two kinds of heart inflammation that can cause symptoms like chest pain, a fast or hard heartbeat, and shortness of breath. When this happens, it mostly occurs in male adolescents and young adults (almost never in children). Most people treated for heart inflammation after vaccination feel better quickly. Heart inflammation is much more likely from COVID than from a COVID vaccine. Also, heart inflammation from COVID tends to be worse than the heart inflammation people have had after vaccination.
The COVID vaccines for children work.
The COVID vaccines for children are working as intended.
Real-world evidence shows that vaccination reduces the risk of infection across age groups, including children.
Real-world evidence shows that the COVID vaccines for children work very well to prevent the worst outcomes from the disease:
- Severe illness
Real-world evidence shows that vaccinated people are also less likely to get MIS-C or Long COVID even if they get infected.
Where to get your child vaccinated.
Vaccinations are available at pediatricians’ and other doctors’ offices, community health centers, rural health clinics, children’s hospitals, public health clinics, local pharmacies, and other community-based organizations.
Find COVID vaccines for children near you at vaccines.gov.