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How safe is the vaccine for young children? What are the risks and side effects?

Doctors are confident the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is safe for ages five to 11. 

The most common side effects are similar to other vaccines, including soreness, redness or swelling in the arm where the vaccine was injected. Some children may experience fever, headache, chills, muscle pain or fatigue, though these symptoms are less common in children 5-11 than among 16 to 26 years olds.

There were no severe adverse reactions related to the vaccine during the clinical trial. The events that were reported were found to be unrelated (e.g. a fracture). There were no cases of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), myocarditis, pericarditis, or Bell’s palsy observed in the clinical trials. 

Regulators, scientists and doctors are monitoring for adverse reactions in children very closely. Millions of doses have been administered in the US without any safety signals so far.

Further Reading

Vaccine safety: Canada’s system (Canadian Paediatric Society)

Read the results of the clinical trial for young children (New England Journal of Medicine)

See a summary of the evidence presented as part of the U.S. regulatory review (U.S. Centre for Disease Control)

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