AFS Blog

Children and Teens: WHY VACCINATE?

Posted on June 21, 2021 | by DeSoto Sun Weekly
Children and Teens: WHY VACCINATE?

Getting vaccinated prevents the COVID-19 disease. The CDC continues to recommend vaccination for individuals ages 12+. Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for kids 12+ following a study showing it's 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 for that age group after the second dose. The Moderna vaccine results are as effective and have similar results to Pfizer, but there's no FDA submission or approval at this time. Local and national experts are urging parents to vaccinate their teenagers against COVID-19 after reports showed COVID hospitalizations increased in the unvaccinated 12-to-17 age group. More than 30% were admitted to the intensive care unit and nearly 5% required mechanical ventilation. More than 35% of patients hospitalized were Black and 31% Latino.

Although fewer children tested positive for COVID-19 compared to adults, children can:

  • be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • get really sick from COVID-19.
  • spread COVID-19 to others like grandma at home.

Find a COVID-19 vaccine for your child

The CDC recommends EVERYONE 12+ years get a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccination to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did before the pandemic. Learn more about what you and your child or teen can do when you have been fully vaccinated at

  • Check your local pharmacy's website to see if vaccination walk-ins or appointments are available.
  • Check with your child's healthcare provider about whether they offer COVID-19 vaccination. You can also check with CenterPlace Health.
  • Contact your local health department for more information.

Get a COVID-19 vaccine for your child as soon as you can

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in adolescents.
  • Your child will need a second shot of the vaccine three weeks after their first shot.
  • you can't get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit or without waiting 14 days between vaccines.

Prepare for your child's vaccination

  • Get tips at for how to support your child before, during, and after the visit.
  • Talk to your child before the visit about what to expect.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Comfort your child during the appointment.
  • To prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting, your child should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given.
  • After your child's COVID-19 vaccination, you will be asked to stay for 15–30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.

Your child may have some side effects, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of their body:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

These side effects may affect your child's ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects. Ask your child's healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home to comfort your child. It is not recommended you give pain relievers before the vaccination to try to prevent side effects.

The COVID-19 vaccine is FREE. We should all be talking to parents, relatives, and close friends about the importance of prevention strategies and encouraging them to get vaccinated. Help protect your whole family by getting yourself and your children 12 years and older vaccinated against COVID-19.

Washington Hill M

Contributions to Sun Coast Media Group are written by members of the Gulf Coast Medical Society. Washington Hill M.D. is a Gulf Coast Medical Society member and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist with CenterPlace Health and Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He can be reached at


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