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:
- 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. More than 9,300 children with COVID-19 have also had MIS-C; 76 of those children have died.
- 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. Almost half of 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-19 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, as well as leading national health care groups, including:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Heart Association
- Pediatric Infectious Disease Society
- American Medical Association
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Children’s Hospital Association
- American Nurses Association
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
- Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
The COVID vaccines for children are safe.
- The COVID vaccine for children has been thoroughly tested, and CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration closely reviewed the data.
- Thousands of children participated in the clinical trials. Among those who received the 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 will 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. They are signs that the vaccine is working and that your child’s body is building protection against the virus.
- 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.
- There’s nothing harmful in the COVID vaccines for children. The ingredient, mRNA, is a molecule naturally found in every cell of your body that has instructions for your cells to make proteins. (Your cells are like 3D printers for proteins.) The mRNA in the vaccine has instructions for a protein specific to the virus that causes COVID. Once your cells make the protein, the mRNA breaks down and goes away. The other vaccine ingredients help the mRNA enter cells and also help keep the vaccine stable during storage.
- 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. This is why the American Heart Association recommends everyone get vaccinated against COVID-19.
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 vaccinated people are also less likely to get MIS-C or long COVID even if they get infected.
- The vaccines now available for children ages 6 months through 4 years should provide the same protection.
Where to get your child vaccinated.
- Vaccinations will be 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.
- To find COVID vaccines for children near you:
- Visit vaccines.gov
- Text your ZIP code to 438829
- Call 1-800-232-0233