Answers for Parents About COVID-19 Vaccinations for Kids

Find answers to common questions with this handy information sheet rooted in science, courtesy of Your Local Epidemiologist, Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH, PhD. 

Covid-19, Answers for parents

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Should kids be vaccinated? Yes.

  • Adolescents have the highest rate of infection compared to adults and children. 
  • There’ve been 127 COVID-19 adolescent deaths since the start of the pandemic. 
  • COVID-19 is a top 10 cause of death for adolescents. 
  • Vaccines significantly reduce community transmission. 
  • 100% efficacy in clinical trials. No severe cases of COVID-19 during study. 


My child had COVID-19 do they need to be vaccinated? Yes.

  • Kids still need to be vaccinated to better protect them from variants of concern.  
  • The vaccine strengthens kids’ immune response (antibody and T-cell protection). 
  • Vaccines help avoid long COVID-19 and improve symptoms of those who have it. 


Are there serious side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? No.

  • Side effects that may come with COVID-19 vaccines are short-term.  
  • Fever, fatigue, headaches, chills, diarrhea, and muscle pain are possible. 
  • Long-term effects, like infertility, are highly unlikely. 
  • It’s biologically impossible for messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines to alter DNA. 


Was creating the COVID-19 vaccine for kids rushed? No.

  • Decades of previous work were leveraged to get us a vaccine in 9 months. 
  • Research on this vaccine started in 2003 thanks to SARS, COVID-19’s cousin. 
  • High rates of disease meant we didn’t have to wait for cases during clinical trials. 
  • Over 150,000 people flooded to participate in the U.S. trials. 
  • COVID-19 vaccines are held to the highest safety standard. 


Breakthrough Biotechnology (a.k.a. Cool Science)

Messenger RNA (mRNA) biotechnology has been tested on cancer, allergies and SARS (the family of viruses that COVID belongs to). mRNA is not new science but before COVID – it wasn’t effective.   

With COVID, mRNA vaccines are very safe and effective. mRNA breaks down very quickly in the body, so it needs a carrier. Scientists found that fat bubbles work great for carrying the mRNA to fight COVID0-19. 

Adapted from a patient handout by Epidemiologist, Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH, PhD 

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