Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
Accurate vaccine information is critical and can help stop common myths and rumors. It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. Learn more about finding credible vaccine information.
MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine for children is not safe.
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years has undergone thorough evaluations by both FDA and CDC. COVID-19 vaccines have and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
The COVID-19 vaccine for children is safe and effective. It has undergone rigorous review, and now has been authorized by FDA and recommended by CDC for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years, after thorough testing for safety in thousands of children. COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 through 11 years were developed and tested in the same way as adult COVID-19 vaccines. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm. These side effects may affect your child’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects and severe allergic reactions are rare.
Learn more about the process of developing, authorizing, and approving COVID-19 vaccines.
MYTH: It is safer for my child to build immunity by getting infected with COVID-19 than to build immunity by getting the vaccine.
FACT: Getting children ages 5 years and older vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect them from COVID-19.
No one should try to expose themself or others to COVID-19 on purpose. Children’s risk of COVID-19 infection is similar to adults. When children get COVID-19, they may be sick for several days and miss school and other opportunities for learning and play with others. Children who are not vaccinated and get COVID-19 may also be at risk for prolonged post-COVID-19 conditions, hospitalization, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), or death. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is over 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 through 11 years. Getting children 5 years and older vaccinated can help protect them from getting COVID-19, as well as keep them in school and group activities by helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in their community.
Children may have side effects after getting vaccinated, which are similar to those they may experience after getting routine vaccinations. These side effects are normal signs that their body is building protection. Any side effects should go away in a few days. In rare situations, COVID-19 vaccination might result in more serious side effects, such as a severe allergic reaction or myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle). Learn more about possible side effects.
MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility and other reproductive issues.
FACT: There is no evidence that any of the COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men.
There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, can cause female or male fertility problems. There is no evidence that vaccine ingredients or antibodies developed following COVID-19 vaccination will cause any problems with becoming pregnant in the future. Similarly, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects puberty.
Professional medical organizations serving people of reproductive age, including adolescents, emphasize that there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes a loss of fertility. These organizations also recommend COVID-19 vaccination for both men and women who want to have a baby in the future.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination and fertility.
MYTH: Because children are not seriously harmed by COVID-19, getting vaccinated is not worth the risk.
FACT: The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 through 11 years outweigh the known and potential risks.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccination can protect your child 5 years and older from getting COVID-19. It can also protect your child from severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term complications if they do get COVID-19.
In the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials that were conducted with thousands of children, no serious safety concerns were identified after vaccination, and side effects were mild and did not have any lasting effects. Some children will not have any side effects and serious side effects are rare.
Unlike the mild side effects that some may experience after vaccination, children who get infected with COVID-19 are at risk of getting very sick. As of October 2021, children ages 5 through 11 years have experienced more than 8,300 COVID-19 related hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths from COVID-19. In fact, COVID-19 ranks as one of the top 10 causes of death for children aged 5 through 11 years. Additionally, children can experience both short and long-term conditions after infection. Children who get infected with COVID-19 can also develop post-COVID conditions that can last for several weeks or longer and can also develop serious complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)—a condition where different body parts become inflamed. From April 2020 to October 2021, more than 2,300 cases of MIS-C have been reported in children ages 5 through 11 years.
Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.