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COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

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CPCMG Recommendations:

CPCMG pediatricians and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommend that all children 12 years and older receive the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series as soon as possible. Once emergency use authorization (EUA) is issued for children 5-11 years old, we expect to have the same strong recommendation for this age group.  COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in children and adolescents. For information or details not found below, please visit the CDC official website.

FDA Approval & Vaccines at CPCMG:

The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years and older.  The vaccine continues to be available to individuals 12-15 years-old under emergency use authorization (EUA).  For children 5-11 years old, the FDA may issue an EUA as early as the end of October.  Shortly after emergency authorization, we anticipate being able to offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the 5–11 year age group as well as for teens during well-child check visits and specific vaccine-only appointments.  This page will be updated as soon as our vaccine clinic plans are available. In the meantime, we encourage all children 12 years and older to get vaccinated now by registering at CA My Turn or scheduling a vaccination in San Diego County at this link, in Riverside County at this link, or at a retail pharmacy in either county.

 

Vaccines for Children Less than 12-Years-Old

Why should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Is the vaccine dose for younger children the same as for teens and adults?

 

Scheduling a COVID-19 Vaccine

How do I get my child a COVID-19 vaccine?

Should I get my child vaccinated even if they already had COVID-19?

Should I take medications before getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine during the same visit with other vaccines?

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine my child gets?

 

Safety

Should I have my child vaccinated against COVID-19?

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

If I have an underlying condition, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Can my child get vaccinated if they have allergies?

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day or if I am currently pregnant?

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding my baby?

 

Vaccine Side Effects

What are the most common side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

Should I worry about myocarditis (heart inflammation) from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

 

Vaccine Timing & Costs

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccines?

If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, when will I be considered fully vaccinated?

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?

How long does my child need to wait after getting another vaccine before getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

 

Vaccine Waivers

Will CPCMG write a letter to medically exempt my child from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

 


ANSWERS:

 

Why should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?

COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Although most children do not appear to get as seriously ill from COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected and can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the COVID-19 virus to others. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone 12 years and older.

COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in children 5 years and older. Your child cannot get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine. Like adults, children may have some side effects after COVID-19 vaccination. These side effects may affect their ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. (Return to top)

 

Is the vaccine dose for younger children the same as for teens and adults?

Dosing of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years of age will likely be 10 micrograms, which is one-third the dose given to people 12 years and older (30 micrograms). This smaller dose was carefully selected based on safety, tolerability, and comparable protection against the COVID-19 infection as the higher dose for people 12 years and older. (Return to top)

 

How do I get my child a COVID-19 vaccine?


Schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at Rady Children’s Hospital on MyChart. Once logged on, select your child, then Visits, then Schedule an Appointment.

OR Visit Vaccines.gov to find vaccination providers near you.

OR Text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find vaccine locations near you.

AND COVID-19 vaccines are coming to CPCMG offices soon. Check back here for more information. (Return to top)

 

Should I get my child vaccinated even if they already had COVID-19?

Yes. Your child should get a COVID-19 vaccine regardless of whether they already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Except as indicated below, vaccination can occur at any point once your child has been cleared from their COVID-19 infection quarantine (generally 10 days after onset of infection).

If your child was treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, they should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your CPCMG pediatrician if you are unsure what treatments your child received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If your child has a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children (MIS-C), consider delaying vaccination until they have recovered from being sick and for 90 days after the date of diagnosis of MIS-C. (Return to top)

 

Should I take medications before getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

For most people, it is not recommended to avoid, discontinue, or delay medications for underlying medical conditions around the time of COVID-19 vaccination. However, your healthcare provider should talk to you about what is currently known and not known about the effectiveness of getting a COVID-19 vaccine when taking medications that suppress the immune system.

It is not recommended you take over-the-counter medicine – such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen – before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects. It is not known how these medications might affect how well the vaccine works. However, if you take these medications regularly for other reasons, you should keep taking them before you get vaccinated. It is also not recommended to take antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to try to prevent allergic reactions.

If you have questions about medications that you are taking, talk to your CPCMG pediatrician or your vaccination provider. (Return to top)


Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine during the same visit with other vaccines?

Yes. Your child can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines including the seasonal influenza vaccine at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection after getting vaccinated (immune response) and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines. (Return to top)

 

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine my child gets?

For people less than 18-years-old, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has approval (16-years and older) and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) (12-15 years-old), so this is the only vaccine your child can receive at this time.  Once the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been granted an EUA for younger age groups, we expect this vaccine will also become available. (Return to top)

Should I have my child vaccinated against COVID-19?


We strongly recommend that all eligible children are vaccinated against COVID-19; research indicates that COVID-19 vaccines are effective and safe. While children in general do not get as seriously ill as adults, many of the children hospitalized with COVID-19 have been adolescents who are now authorized to receive vaccines. Immunizing kids will not only protect them, but keep them from spreading infection to older family members who are at risk for serious illness/hospitalization, life long complications from COVID-19, and death. (Return to top)

 

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. As of August 16, 2021, over 357 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States from December 14, 2020. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Even with millions of people having received COVID-19 vaccines, no long-term side effects have been detected.

The CDC continues to closely monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. If scientists find a connection between a safety issue and a vaccine, FDA and the vaccine manufacturer will work toward an appropriate solution to address the specific safety concern (for example, a problem with a specific lot, a manufacturing issue, or the vaccine itself). (Return to top)

 

If I have an underlying condition, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

People with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people with underlying medical conditions. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. (Return to top)

 

Can my child get vaccinated if they have allergies?

If allergic to something not related to vaccines- The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.

If allergic to an ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine- If your child has had a severe allergic reaction or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, they should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna).

If allergic to Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) or Polysorbate- PEG and polysorbate are closely related to each other. PEG is an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines, and polysorbate is an ingredient in the J&J/Janssen vaccine.

If your child is allergic to PEG, they should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

If allergic to other types of vaccines– If your child has had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if they should get a COVID-19 vaccine. (Return to top)

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized and recommended for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and a viral vector vaccine. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the genetic material in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. (Return to top)

 

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day or if I am currently pregnant?

Yes. CPCMG pediatricians are in full agreement with the CDC and strongly recommend that people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future receive one of the authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible. The benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks. In addition to the risks of severe illness and death for pregnant and recently pregnant people infected with COVID-19, there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including preterm birth and admission of their neonate(s) to an intensive care unit (ICU). Other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth, have been reported. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. (Return to top)

 

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine while I am breastfeeding my baby?

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are breastfeeding.  Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. More data is needed to determine what protection these antibodies might provide to your baby. (Return to top)

 

What are the most common side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

After getting vaccinated, you might have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. (Return to top)

 

Should I worry about myocarditis (heart inflammation) from the COVID-19 vaccine?

There have been reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of cases of inflammation of the heart—called myocarditis and pericarditis—happening after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) in the United States. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is inflammation of the outer lining of the heart. In both cases, the body’s immune system causes inflammation in response to an infection or some other trigger. The reports are rare, given the hundreds of millions of vaccine doses administered.

  • Confirmed cases have occurred mostly in male adolescents and young adults age 16 years or older, more often after getting the second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, and typically within several days after COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Most patients who received care responded well to treatment and rest and quickly felt better.
  • Patients can usually return to their normal daily activities after their symptoms improve. They should speak with their doctor about a return to exercise or sports.
  • Recent studies would seem to indicate that the number of cases of myocarditis or pericarditis is more likely to occur from a COVID-19 infection itself than from the COVID-19 vaccine.

The known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis. The CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older, given the risk of COVID-19 illness and related, possibly severe complications.

If your child experiences chest pain, shortness of breath, or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart within a week after COVID-19 vaccination, seek immediate medical care. (Return to top)

 

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. (Return to top)

 

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests. (Return to top)

 

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccines?

The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. (Return to top)

 

If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, when will I be considered fully vaccinated?

2 weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. (Return to top)

 

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available. (Return to top)

 

How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?

We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice. Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available. (Return to top)

 

How long does my child need to wait before or after getting another vaccine when getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

There is no minimum amount of time between doses of any routine childhood vaccine (including the seasonal influenza vaccine) and the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, children can get a COVID-19 vaccine during the same visit as other vaccines, or any time before or after other vaccines. (Return to top)

 

Will CPCMG write a letter to medically exempt my child from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

Since the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved for people 16-years and older, many school districts now mandate that all staff and students 16-years and up be fully vaccinated. Additionally, Governor Newsom recently announced a statewide mandate for students to get the vaccine. Once the COVID-19 vaccine is given full approval for those down to 12-years-old, the mandates will also apply to that age group. The same mandates are expected once a COVID vaccine becomes fully approved in children 5-11 years-old and for those in younger age groups.

There are very few medical reasons that are valid for exemption from getting a COVID-19 vaccine and CPCMG providers will not write exemption letters for children UNLESS they have one of the following:

1. A SEVERE allergic reaction (such as anaphylaxis) after a previous dose or to a component of a COVID-19 vaccine such as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), and inability to take an alternative COVID-19 vaccine, including due to age requirements.

2. An IMMEDIATE allergic reaction to a previous dose or known (diagnosed) allergy to a component of a COVID-19 vaccine AND inability to take an alternative COVID-19 vaccine, including due to age requirements.

3. History of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) or pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) after an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine AND inability to receive the Janssen/J&J vaccine due to age requirements or to a SEVERE or IMMEDIATE allergic reaction to that vaccine or one of its components.

Please note that the following are NOT considered valid reasons for a medical exemption:

-Local injection site reactions after vaccines
-Expected systemic vaccine side effects in previous COVID-19 vaccines
-Being an immunocompromised individual or receiving immunosuppressive medications
-Immunosuppressed person in the patient’s household
-Autoimmune conditions, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome
-Allergic reactions to anything not contained in the COVID-19 vaccines (including eggs and gelatin which are not in the vaccine)