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COVID-19 Vaccinations Ages 12-15: What Parents Need to Know


In keeping with recent approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) now offers Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15 at all COVID-19 vaccine clinic locations. With parent consent (by phone when the parent is scheduling or in person at the vaccine clinic), these free vaccinations are now available at LVHN Vaccine Clinic locations.

“We at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital are encouraging parents to get their child vaccinated for their safety, as well as the safety of their family,” says J. Nathan Hagstrom, MD, Chief of Pediatrics at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital. “The Pfizer vaccine has emergency use authorization for ages 12 and older and has been proven safe and effective. The clinical trial data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration demonstrated 100% effectiveness at preventing disease in this age group, which now represents nearly 20% of current COVID-19 infections.”

FAQs about COVID-19 vaccine for kids age 12-15

To help parents know more about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and what side effects they might see in a child age 12-15, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long should my child wait to get the COVID vaccine after having COVID-19 illness?

As long as a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (child or adult) has recovered from their illness and meets the criteria to come out of isolation (10 days since symptoms first appeared and 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving), they can receive COVID-19 vaccine. This may be as early as 10 days for a patient with mild illness. Patients with severe disease are recommended to stay isolated for at least 20 days and should also wait to get their vaccine.

Can I get my child vaccinated through school?

LVHN is working with several local school districts to have vaccine clinics on-site at schools across the region.

Is there any difference in the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15 as compared to those over 15 years of age?

There is no difference in the vaccination. It is the same dose, same vaccine protocol and same side effects. The clinical trial data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration demonstrated 100% effectiveness at preventing disease in this group. The trial included more than 2,200 children in this age group with no infections in the vaccinated and 16 cases in the placebo group.

Are any symptoms different for those ages 12-15?

The side effects that have occurred in adults are more frequent in the 12-15 age group, especially fever. Common side effects are pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as fatigue, tiredness, mild headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. As with adults, these side effects can affect a child’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Additionally, these side effects may be more common with the first dose than typically seen in adults.

Are the side effects in children ages 12-15 treatable?

You may want to give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) four times a day at the appropriate dosing for the first day or two following the vaccination. It is recommended you do not give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to your child before the vaccine. 

To reduce pain and discomfort where your child got the shot, apply a cool, wet cloth to the spot on the arm where the shot was given. Have your child drink lots of fluids. Wearing light clothing can help when fever occurs.

What is the frequency of the side effects occurring ages 12-15?

  • Injection site pain – 90%

  • Fatigue the following day – 80%

  • Headache – 75%

  • Chills – 50%

  • Muscle pain – 40%

  • Fever – 20%

  • Joint pain – 10%

  • Nausea – 10%

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit LVHN.org/vaccines.