COVID-19 Vaccination: What Parents Need to Do Before and After Their Child’s Vaccination

Covid-19 Vaccine

Children ages 12 and up can now receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with the approval of the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). With this approval, many parents are actively seeking more information concerning the safety and importance of the COVID-19 vaccine for children. Throughout this post, you’ll find the information you need to prepare for the vaccine.

Essential Things Every Parent Needs to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

Parents often wonder why children need the vaccine, given that most cases of COVID-19 in children do not pose serious health concerns. In the U.S., children account for one-quarter of all new COVID-19 cases each week. Since the beginning of the pandemic, around 4 million children tested positive for the virus and thousands of children have been hospitalized. While severe cases of the virus are rare in children, they can still get sick, especially those with underlying medical conditions.

Children are essential to counteract the pandemic through herd immunity-and that can most likely only be accomplished by immunization. The vaccine helps prevent your child from catching the virus and spreading it. It will also lower the risk of becoming severely ill. 

Best of all, getting your children vaccinated will allow them to live their lives as normal as before. It includes safely leaving the house without a mask and the chance to participate in in-person activities— unless otherwise required by law. 

To learn more, we encourage you to read our blog about frequently asked questions regarding COVID vaccination for children. In addition, here’s more information that you may find important.

  • Pfizer uses a technology called mRNA technology. In contrast to traditional vaccines, mRNA vaccines contain instructions for directing our bodies’ cells to make proteins that stimulate an immune reaction and generate antibodies.
  • Because of how this vaccine works, there’s no reason to be concerned about how it might affect puberty, reproductive systems, or hormone production in children and teens. 
  • As per CDC, children can continue to receive their routine vaccine schedule along with the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Anyone living in the United States, regardless of immigration or insurance status, can receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free.

Vaccine Tips for Parents: Preparation and Post-COVID 19 Vaccine Care

Here are the things parents must do before, during, and after vaccinations to make sure the process of their children’s COVID-19 vaccine goes smoothly and safely.

Preparation Before the Vaccine

  • Let your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician know you are planning to have your child vaccinated. Ask questions and let them know your concerns.
  • Find out where your child can receive a COVID-19 vaccine by contacting your local health department, pharmacy, or doctor. Visit VaccineFinder to find a vaccine provider for COVID-19 at a location near you. Additionally, you can find U.S. vaccine locations by texting your ZIP code to 438829 or calling 1-800-232-0233. Vaccinations are also available here at CMC Fresno. 
  • Explain to your child what to expect during vaccinations and answer any questions. It will prepare them and make them feel more at ease.
  • Before vaccination, make sure your child is well-rested and hydrated.
  • Verify that the vaccine brand provided by your facility is Pfizer. Currently, this is the only vaccine available for children aged 12 and older.

Significant Health Concerns to Address

When your child has at least one known history of severe allergies, you should speak with your healthcare provider or allergist to determine whether they can get the COVID vaccine. Alternatively, you can view the list of ingredients for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine here on FDA’s fact sheet. Should the ingredients in any Pfizer vaccine cause an allergic reaction, you must wait for other COVID vaccines in the future.

Your child should not receive the vaccine if they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, you should wait for them to get well and have clearance to end the isolation. If they have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma treatments following the COVID-19, you must wait 90 days before they can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The best option is to discuss with your child’s physician.

What to Do on Vaccination Day

  • Please keep your child safe as they await vaccination. Protect yourself by keeping a safe distance and wearing a mask.
  • Comfort your child during the vaccination process.
  • You should ensure that your child remains seated or lying down during vaccine administration and for 15 minutes following vaccination to prevent fainting as well as injuries related to fainting.
  • After your child receives the COVID-19 vaccine, you will stay for 15-30 minutes to observe your child if they have an allergic reaction requiring immediate medical treatment. Make sure to schedule the second dose after they receive their first dose. 
  • Keep your paper vaccination card! Be sure to take a photo of it and store it somewhere safe. The vaccination card should not be laminated in case additional information is needed.

Post-vaccination Care 

In the hours or days following vaccination, your child may experience minor side effects. These are typical signs that they are developing immunity. Although your child may experience some of these side effects, they should subside within a day or two. In some cases, there are no side effects at all. Here are the common side effects of the COVID vaccine.

  • Body Chills
  • Headache
  • Fever 
  • Nausea
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Tiredness
  • Pain, swelling, and redness in the area of vaccination

Please consult your child’s healthcare provider before giving them over-the-counter pain relief medicines, such as Advil and Tylenol. These medications are generally safe to take by patients to relieve side effects, provided no other conditions hamper their use. As per CDC guidelines, giving your child these medicines before vaccination is not advisable.

You should consult an adult doctor if you think the area of the shot is becoming redder or more tender after 24 hours or if symptoms are getting worse and do not improve with time.

When the COVID-19 vaccine is administered, you should get a vaccination card indicating when, where and which of the two doses your child received. Send your pediatrician a copy of the card after the second vaccination. This information should be in the medical record of your child. It is advisable to keep this card on hand in case the need arises. 

For parents, we have more resources about COVID-19 that can help as they move through these challenging times.

Schedule Your Child’s COVID Vaccine Today

Amid this pandemic, the best thing parents can do is take proactive steps to shield their children from the different COVID variants and help them return to normal life as soon as possible. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19. 

At CMC Fresno, we are ready to guide you through this whole vaccination process for your child. We are also currently scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for children 12 years up. If you wish to schedule, please call us at (559) 455-1500 or book your appointment conveniently online.