Vaccines undergo particularly rigorous safety tests before receiving approval for use in the general population. However, no drug is guaranteed to be free from side effects, so what are the side effects that children receiving the COVID-19 vaccine may face?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5–11 years on October 29, 2021. According to a recent survey by KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, just over one-quarter of parents of children in this age group are eager for their child to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Although this may be surprising, other survey findings shed some light on the reasons behind this hesitancy: a fear of side effects.
Two-thirds of parents of children of this age said that they were worried that the COVID-19 vaccine would affect their children’s future fertility. So significant are these concerns that the American Academy of Pediatrics recently put out a video disputing any potential impact of the vaccine on puberty or fertility.
Vaccine hesitancy is not just over fears of an impact on fertility, however. Over three-quarters of parents reported that they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned that their child might experience serious side effects or that not enough is known about long-term effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.
So, what are the possible side effects?
In the same way that pharmaceutical companies raced to get the vaccine approved for adults, those companies have carried out trials to see if their vaccines are safe and effective in adolescents and children.
Speaking at an Independent SAGE briefing on November 5, 2021, Prof. Deenan Pillay — a professor of virology at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom — said