Update on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds
Gundersen Health System will offer the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday, May 14, pending final Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approval, to patients and non-patients ages 12 to 15 years old, in addition to continued eligibility for those ages 16 and older.
Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for people ages 12 to 17; Patients under age 18 need a parent or guardian consent in person (walk-ins are available at select Gundersen locations) or by calling the Gundersen scheduling line at (608) 775-6829.
Walk-in vaccine appointments are available at the Gundersen Onalaska Clinic 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-in appointments are also available at select Gundersen regional locations. Call a Gundersen vaccine location for availability.
What else do I need to know about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and kids?
CDC and FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine comes after a thorough review of clinical trial data and will include intense safety monitoring as young people receive the vaccine.
While not everyone experiences the same side effects, the most common side effects among kids during Pfizer’s clinical trials were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain, especially after the second dose.
Like adults, the Pfizer vaccine should not be given to kids with a history of severe allergic reactions. A very small number of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been reported among the millions of vaccine doses provided in the United States.
Why should kids get the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the FDA, more than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States in March and April among kids ages 11 to 17. While the virus is usually milder in kids than in adults, kids can still get very sick and have complications or long-lasting symptoms that affect their health.
Kids can also transmit COVID-19 to others, even when are not showing symptoms. COVID-19 vaccine protects kids and those around them (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends), especially those at greater risk of severe illness.
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine also reduces the number of infections in the community and gives the virus less opportunity to mutate and contribute to variants in our community, some of which are more dangerous and can be resistant to the vaccine.