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COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects in Children and Teens

What You Need to Know

  • Children and teens may have some side effects after getting their COVID-19 vaccine.

  • These side effects tend to be mild, temporary, and similar to those experienced after routine vaccinations.

  • Some children and teens have no side effects.

  • Serious side effects are rare, but may occur.

Common COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

Younger children may experience fewer side effects after COVID-19 vaccination than teens or young adults. For children 4 years and older, side effects are more common after the second dose and can include:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness in the arm where the shot was given

  • Fever

  • Tiredness

  • Headache

  • Chills

  • Muscle or joint pain

  • Swollen lymph nodes

For children 3 years and younger, common side effects can include:

  • Pain where the shot was given

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Irritability or crying

  • Sleepiness

  • Loss of appetite

Possible Side Effects after Booster Shot

Side effects reported after getting a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot for children 5 years and older were similar to those after the primary series (the initial two doses). Overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. As with the primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.

Help Manage Side Effects after Vaccination

In general, aspirin is not recommended for use in anyone younger than 18 years. Aspirin puts children at risk for Reye’s syndrome, which can cause swelling in the brain and liver. Placing a cool, damp cloth on the area where the shot was given can help reduce the discomfort.

Ask your child’s doctor for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home after your child gets vaccinated.

Get Started with v-safe

After getting your child vaccinated, enroll them in the v-safe After Vaccination Health Checker. v-safe provides personalized and confidential health check-ins after COVID-19 vaccination.

Learn more about v-safe and share with other parents and caregivers the importance of enrolling after vaccination.

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