Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination

Pfizer-BioNTech is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in people 5-17 years of age. Preparing to Vaccinate Young Children: COVID-19 can help you get ready to vaccinate children 5-11 years.

If you are new to using the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, there are several critical differences in the storage and handling, administration, and clinical considerations for COVID-19 vaccine compared to routine immunizations.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds is a different formulation and is identified by the orange cap. Make sure you have the correct vaccine and know how to use it.

Pfizer vaccine guidance

Review training required for staff who receive, handle, manage, prepare, or administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at COVID-19 Vaccine Providers. Document staff training, including date completed for your records.

Key things to know and share with patients

Benefits of pediatric vaccination talking points

Use these talking points to help convey the importance of COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents and children.

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  • The COVID-19 vaccine is over 90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease in children and teens.
  • This means vaccinated kids are extremely unlikely to get sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 can be severe for children and adolescents, and we can't predict who would get very sick.
  • The clinical trials for the Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds did not have any reports of these rare side effects: myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart), or anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction). Learn more at CDC: Myocarditis and Pericarditis After mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination.
  • The immune response to two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents age 12-15 years and children 5-11 years who have not had COVID-19 before was at least as high as the response observed in people age 16-25 years.

Vaccinated people do not need to quarantine if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If they do develop symptoms, they should stay home (isolate) and get tested.

There is no need to wait to give the COVID-19 vaccine if the child needs other vaccines at the same visit.

  • The most common side effects are injection site pain, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever, and joint pain. Side effects occur more frequently following the second dose.
  • These side effects mean the immune system is responding to the vaccine. It’s also OK if the child does not have side effects – people respond to the vaccine in different ways.
  • Children in school, sports, or other activities do not have to get tested as frequently if they are fully vaccinated.
  • School-age kids who are not fully vaccinated and participate in in-person learning, activities, or sports should get tested regularly according to CDC: Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools.
  • Students taking classes at college and trade-school who are not fully vaccinated should get tested if they return to campus for classes. Look to your school for more guidance.

Adolescent vaccine administration tips

  • Answer any questions the child or parent/guardian has about vaccination.
  • Use comfort measures to decrease pain and anxiety. Suggest the child:
    • Listen to their favorite music with headphones.
    • Breathe! Take slow, deep breaths.
    • Make eye contact with a supportive person.
    • Close their eyes and think of a favorite place or activity.
    • Focus on something in the room, like a poster.
  • Fainting (syncope) can be common among adolescents immediately after getting shots. To help prevent any injuries that could occur from a fall while fainting, adolescents should stay seated for 15 minutes after the shot. Visit CDC: Fainting after Vaccination.
  • Find administration tips for younger children at Preparing to Vaccinate Young Children: COVID-19.

Reach the most disadvantaged children

Our equity allocation goal for the state and our vaccinating partners is that 40% of all doses administered should be prioritized to communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, using our Social Vulnerability Index ZIP code quartile equity metric. Learn more at COVID-19 Vaccine Equity in Minnesota.

Pediatric providers can take several steps to prevent equity gaps when expanding COVID-19 vaccine to children 5 years and older.

Be prepared to address COVID-19 vaccine questions

  • Hopefully, all providers have started talking to parents about getting their own COVID-19 vaccinations to help protect their children. Now that it is their children's turn, many of the same concerns may linger as they weigh the pros and cons of vaccination. MDH has put together What You Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines (PDF) with answers to common myths and misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Consider hosting or participating in information sessions with parents and their children to address questions and concerns and promote the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. People are looking for information from community members they trust.

Find ways to decrease barriers for families

  • Offer multiple ways to schedule and/or allow walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Have translated vaccination materials or interpretation readily available, if possible.
    • Late-arrival or no-show policies will delay care. Allowing walk-ins helps avoid this.
  • Extend hours: Offer early morning, evening, or weekend appointments for caregivers to bring in children for COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Consider working with schools, local health departments, other local community organizations, or mobile vaccination units to help facilitate community vaccination drives specifically for children and families from areas with high social vulnerability factors.
  • Use care coordinators or other supports to proactively reach out to children in communities already hardest hit by COVID-19 and who may need additional assistance for vaccination
    • Use the list of ZIP codes by social vulnerability index quartile, provided to our vaccination partners, to reach out to families. Prioritize those in high-risk ZIP codes for offers of assistance in arranging transportation to the appointment via their medical benefits/health insurance.
      • The Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) can be used to identify patients in these ZIP codes who have yet to receive COVID-19 vaccine and/or their routine immunizations. Using the client follow-up functionality in MIIC, providers can pull a list of clients and their contact information (including ZIP code). The user guidance for this function can be found at Client Follow-Up.
    • Identify families that will benefit from interpreter services to schedule and be present at their appointment.

Reach out to highly impacted communities

In addition to focused efforts targeting children who live in ZIP code areas with high social vulnerability factors, consider reaching out to children and families in communities that have experienced a high burden of COVID-19 disease and impact, including:

  • Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific Islander communities
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with other medical comorbidities per CDC guidance: People with Certain Medical Conditions.
  • Children from households where the language spoken is not English (e.g., Somali, Spanish, etc.)
  • Children on Medicaid/Minnesota Health Care Programs


Updated Monday, 21-Mar-2022 08:13:46 CDT