Let’s Talk about the COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids!

COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids - Communities for Immunity

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room—or maybe it’s not an elephant at all for you. Sometimes at Go Valley Kids, we need to discuss things that are not easy and that we may not all agree on. Still, it’s important to us that we move forward in our mission to bring resources and information to empower families to lead happy, healthy lives.

We believe that everyone has a choice and should have access to factual information to guide their decision-making. It has been a really loud and confusing couple of years and it can be hard to know who to listen to. We’ve tapped local experts to provide us with factual information about the vaccines and to answer questions that we and other parents have about this vaccine. 

We’ve also talked with local parents about their experiences and any tips they have for making it through the vaccine process.

Editor’s Note: As always, we appreciate feedback from our readers. When you provide feedback or comments, we ask that you keep in mind that we have worked to maintain a positive and supportive community.

Thanks to our Sponsor

The Building for Kids seeks to be a reliable resource of information to promote the wellbeing of children and their grownups throughout our community. The BFK recently received a Communities for Immunity grant in support of their work to promote vaccine confidence. Communities for Immunity is made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information, visit www.communitiesforimmunity.org.

child after covid vaccine

Tips and Experiences from Fox Valley Parents

Amanda, mom of 2 in Neenah

My 10-year-old twins are on the opposite sides of the spectrum with how they handle shots or anything with needles. One kiddo was ready to go, didn’t need any preparation, and sat like a statue for both doses.

My other kiddo needed ALL the tricks. In addition to medication from our pediatrician, we watched a video about the process, talked about how the vaccination can keep us healthy, and practiced a tight hug to help keep them safe and still during the vaccination (we took inspiration from this TikTok video from a pediatrician mom).

After the first vaccination, we discovered that the nervous kiddo should go first — waiting just made it harder. We brought two more tools with us to the appointment. First is a Shot Blocker, a small plastic device that tricks your brain into noticing the injection a bit less. Lastly, we brought headphones and played funny cat videos on my phone.

In the end, both kids decided they were glad they did the vaccination and agreed that it felt like a mosquito bite…then they picked out a treat from the store. (I told you it was ALL the tricks!)

Julie, mom of 2 in Appleton

After almost losing their Grandpa to Covid, these girls were eager to do their part and get vaccinated!

sisters after covid vaccine

Erin, mom of 4 in Neenah

I would share about booking appointments for our three youngest children because it was somewhat difficult. My first choice was CVS, because that’s where I got mine and our 13-year-old son’s vaccines. I know, like, and trust the pharmacist there, and being somewhat hesitant with the vaccine, it would’ve made me more comfortable to do it there. They don’t have an option to book family members together. Everyone requires separate appointments that are 15 minutes apart, even though it doesn’t take that long, and I couldn’t get appointment times together at the times I needed them without booking really far out in advance. Again, already being hesitant about doing it, once I had made the decision to do it, I just wanted it done and over with. I didn’t want to dwell on it for weeks waiting for an appointment.

We ended up at Walmart, which had many more appointment times available. Not a huge deal, but slightly more inconvenient because it wasn’t in Neenah and it was with an unknown pharmacist. But they also didn’t have the option to book family members together. So for example, our appointments were for 5:20, 5:40, and 6:00 pm. We were done with all 3 kids by 5:25.

As far as side effects, our 13-year-old had a sore arm, headache, and fatigue the next day. The three Littles (10, 8, and 5) only had a sore arm. No extra fatigue or anything to report.

I intended to wait until the vaccine was fully approved by the FDA and for further information. But, ultimately I felt I had to get them vaccinated now because with many schools stopping mask requirements and Covid cases rising — especially in my oldest child’s school — the choice to wait was kind of taken away from me.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

COVID-19 can sicken people of all ages. There’s no way to predict how your child might be affected by COVID.

Among children under age 18 in the United States who’ve gotten COVID-19:

  • Tens of thousands have been hospitalized
  • Hundreds have died
  • Even if your child doesn’t get very sick, a COVID-19 infection could still cause health problems down the road.

Your child can also spread the virus to someone who is at risk for severe illness—like a grandparent, someone at church, a teacher at school, or anyone in your community.

The vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine for children has been through rigorous testing and thorough review by the FDA and CDC. Thousands of children participated in the clinical trials. Among those who received the vaccine, it was shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are the most closely monitored vaccines in U.S. history. And the FDA and CDC will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including among children.

The active ingredient is a molecule that leads your body to briefly make a protein (called the spike protein) normally found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine helps your body recognize that protein and creates a strong immune response against the spike protein.

After vaccination, your body breaks down the vaccine components and gets rid of them within about 36 hours.

After vaccination, because the immune system has protection built up against the spike protein, the body is ready to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19.

Myocarditis and pericarditis are two kinds of heart inflammation that can cause symptoms like chest pain, a fast or hard heartbeat, and shortness of breath.

These kinds of heart inflammation after vaccination are extremely rare.

When they happen, they mostly happen in male adolescents and young adults, typically within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.

Patients usually recover quickly and respond well to medications and rest.

You’re actually more likely to get heart inflammation if you’re unvaccinated and get sick with COVID-19. And heart inflammation from COVID-19 tends to be worse than the heart inflammation people have had after vaccination.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires 2 initial doses, given 21 days apart.

Everyone age 16 or older should get a booster shot 6 months after your 2nd dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to keep up your protection against COVID-19.

Children who’ve gotten a COVID-19 vaccine have the same common side effects as adults.

Common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling where you got your shot
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

These side effects are normal and typically last for a couple days after vaccination.

They are signs that the vaccine is working and that your child’s body is building protection against the virus.

Yes. You should get your child vaccinated against COVID-19 even if they’ve already had COVID-19.

Having had COVID-19 doesn’t necessarily protect someone against getting infected again.

In fact, a recent study found that unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who had COVID-19 and then got vaccinated.

Where can I or my child get vaccinated? 

Everyone age 5 and older can now get a COVID-19 vaccine.

You have three ways to find vaccines near you:

  • Go to vaccines.gov
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829
  • Call 1-800-232-0233

Vaccine Clinics & Events for Kids in the Fox Valley

  • Public Health Division – 3rd floor at the County Government Center
    320 Walnut Street in Appleton
    • Call 920-832-5100 to schedule an appointment.
    • Open Wednesdays 9 am – 3 pm
    • Additional days and hours vary by week.
  • Fox River Mall – Located in the food court near Scheels
    • No appointment needed, no ID required, no insurance required.
    • Registration in advance will save time while you’re there. You can take care of that online or by calling 844-684-1064.
    • Check the schedule online for hours, but generally, the site is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 11 am – 7 pm.
    • They administer Pfizer for kids ages 5 and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available for adults.
  • Black Creek Fire Department – W5200 County Road B, Black Creek
    • No appointment is needed. Pfizer is available for everyone 5 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available for adults.
    • Open Wednesdays from 3 – 6 pm.
  • Shiocton-Bovina Fire Department – W7740 Pine Street, Shiocton
    • No appointment is needed. Pfizer is available for everyone 5 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available for adults.
    • Open Wednesdays from 2:30 – 5:30 pm.

Need a Ride to a Vaccine Site?

There are three free options for transportation:

How to Prepare for Vaccines?

Before:

  • Be honest with your child: Shots can pinch or sting, but they don’t hurt for long.
  • Help your child see vaccines as a good thing. Tell them vaccines keep them safe from germs that might make them sick.
  • Don’t tell your child scary stories or make threats about shots.

During:

  • Bring a favorite toy or blanket for your child to hug.
  • Hold your child in a comforting position, such as on your lap.
  • Distract your child, such as with a story, a video, or a conversation.
  • Ask the vaccine provider if they have a numbing ointment or spray to apply before the shot.

After:

  • Hug and praise your child.
  • Remind your child why vaccines are good. Tell them their body is already making germ fighters to keep them safe and healthy.
  • Consider rewarding your child, such as with a treat or a sticker.

To get the most protection from the vaccine, your child will need 2 doses, 21 days apart.

Talk to a doctor if you have questions about the vaccine for your particular family situation and health history.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus

Families
We can do this, I got my superpower

Our team and partners hope that we’ve given you information that you can use when thinking about vaccinating your kids. We will be adding more articles to help your family to navigate this phase of the Covid pandemic with locations to get tested and school district policies.

We know that it has been a long couple of years for your family—it certainly has been for ours—but we also know that we will get through this together as a strong community that helps each other through difficult times. We’ve seen this demonstrated time after time and know that this hard time won’t be different. 

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