COVID-19 Vaccine Safety in Children and Teens
What You Need to Know
- Tens of millions of children and teens ages 5 through 17 years have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Through continued safety monitoring, COVID-19 vaccination has been found safe for children and teens.
- The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.
- CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get vaccinated against COVID-19 and everyone ages 12 years and older should also get a COVID-19 booster shot.
Clinical Trials and Ongoing Safety Monitoring Show That COVID-19 Vaccination Is Safe for Children and Teens
Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of children and teens to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization for use in everyone ages 5 through 15 years and full approval for use in everyone ages 16 years and older. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines were developed and approved.
COVID-19 vaccines are being monitored with the most comprehensive and intense vaccine safety monitoring program in U.S. history. CDC monitors all COVID-19 vaccines after they are authorized or approved for use. CDC and FDA will continue to monitor vaccines, keep people informed of findings, and use data to make COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety from published research and making sure COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States are safe.
Serious Health Events after COVID-19 Vaccination Are Rare
Serious reactions after COVID-19 vaccination in children and teens are rare. When they are reported, serious reactions most frequently occur the day after vaccination.
Rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after children and teens got the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. New studies have shown the rare risk of myocarditis and pericarditis associated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna)—mostly among males between the ages of 12 and 39 years—may be further reduced with a longer time between the first and second dose.
- In children ages 5 through 11 years, there were 11 confirmed reports of myocarditis out of 8 million doses given of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine between November through December 2021.
- In reports of myocarditis following mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination from December 2020 to August 2021external icon, the risk of myocarditis was highest following the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in adolescent and young adult males.
- Reporting rates were around 70 cases per million doses in males ages 12 through 15 years and 105 cases per million doses in males ages 16 through 17 years.
Learn more about myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination and the association between myocarditis and having COVID-19.
A severe allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis, may happen after any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination, but this is rare. If your child experiences a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine providers can rapidly provide care and call for emergency medical services, if needed.
If your child gets a COVID-19 vaccine and you think they might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination provider site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
People Cannot Get COVID-19 from Any COVID-19 Vaccine
mRNA vaccines, like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and do not interact with DNA in any way. Instead, mRNA vaccines teach the body how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Then, the body gets rid of the mRNA within a few days after vaccination.
There Is No Evidence That COVID-19 Vaccination Causes Problems Becoming Pregnant
There is no evidence that vaccine ingredients, including mRNA, or antibodies made following COVID-19 vaccination would cause any problems with becoming pregnant now or in the future. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for people who would like to have a baby someday.
Learn more about how mRNA vaccines, like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, work. Also, watch videos from the American Academy of Pediatrics about how mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were developed and how mRNA vaccines work.
- COVID-19 vaccine safety in children aged 5–11 Years — United States, November 3–December 19, 2021
- Evaluation of the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11 years of ageexternal iconexternal icon
- Adverse events among children ages 5–11 years after COVID-19 vaccination: Updates from v-safe and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)pdf iconpdf icon
- The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ interim recommendation for use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5–11 years — United States, November 2021
- Safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses among persons aged 12–17 years — United States, December 9, 2021–February 20, 2022
- Safety monitoring in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) external iconexternal icon
- Myocarditis cases reported after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination in the US from December 2020 to August 2021 external iconexternal icon
- COVID-19 vaccine safety in adolescents aged 12–17 years — United States, December 14, 2020–July 16, 2021
- Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥16 years: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, September 2021
- Use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after reports of myocarditis among vaccine recipients: Update from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, June 2021
- The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ interim recommendation for use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12–15 Years — United States, May 2021
For a complete list of research, visit Vaccine Safety Publications.