Q&A: COVID-19 vaccine shots for children
Guangzhou will start inoculating children 3 to 11 years old with COVID-19 vaccines. Is it safe for children to get vaccinated? Which type of COVID-19 vaccines can be used on children? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.
1. Why is it important for children to get COVID-19 vaccines?
Giving children COVID-19 vaccines is an important part of building up the immunity barrier for the entire population as well as an important measure to block the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Children infected with the COVID-19 virus may develop critical conditions, which can even be fatal.
2. Are COVID-19 vaccinations for children voluntary?
Yes, receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is completely voluntary.
However, schools are densely populated areas. If imported COVID-19 cases occur within schools, the virus can easily spread. Thus, it is recommended for children who meet vaccination requirements to get vaccinated.
3. How safe are COVID-19 vaccines for children?
Children and adolescents have a high tolerance for the COVID-19 vaccines.
According to data from clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccines tested for children aged between 3 and 11 showed the same level of safety as that for the group of 12 years old and above. The level of neutralizing antibodies created in children is also the same as that in adults.
4. What are the potential side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations for children?
The main potential side effects are a fever and pain around the area of inoculation.
5. Are COVID-19 vaccinations free for children?
Yes, the vaccine is free for children 3 to 11 years old.
6. How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine should children get?
Children 3 to 11 years old should get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
7. How long do children have to wait after completing the first COVID-19 vaccine until they can receive the second one?
Children 3 to 11 years old can receive a second COVID-19 vaccination three weeks (21 days) after completing the first one.
8. Which type of COVID-19 vaccine can be used on children?
Currently, COVID-19 vaccines that can be used on children are the inactivated virus vaccines developed by Sinopharm's Beijing Institute of Biological Products, Sinopharm's Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and Sinovac Biotech.
9. Can COVID-19 vaccines be inoculated with other vaccines at the same time on children?
In principle, COVID-19 vaccinations cannot be administered at the same time with other vaccines, including vaccinations under immunization programs.
The interval between different vaccinations needs to be more than two weeks (14 days).
Under special circumstances such as with animal bites or external traumatic injuries, the infected person should be vaccinated against rabies or tetanus regardless of the time interval.
10. Under what circumstances should children not get a COVID-19 vaccination?
- Children who are allergic to active ingredients or any of the inactive ingredients, and substances used in the vaccine production processes.
- Children who have been allergic to vaccines of similar types in the past.
- Children who have had severe allergic reactions to vaccines in the past (such as acute allergic reactions and breathing difficulty)
- Children with uncontrolled epilepsy and other serious neurological diseases.
- Children who are currently experiencing a fever, acute diseases, acute attacks of chronic diseases, or uncontrolled severe chronic diseases.
11. Should children who have been infected by the COVID-19 virus in the past get a COVID-19 vaccination?
For children with history of a COVID-19 virus infection, one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered after six months (180 days) from a previous infection.
12. Are children completely safe from the COVID-19 virus after getting vaccinated?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine is not 100 percent effective. Even after completing two vaccinations, children must continue adhering to public health guidelines and practice personal health safety in crowded areas.
13. What are the precautions for children getting a COVID-19 vaccination?
Children 3 to 11 years old who are getting a COVID-19 vaccination need to be with their guardian(s) during the entire vaccination process.
The guardian needs to be knowledgeable about all the information and requirements regarding the COVID-19 vaccination in advance, and remember to bring ID cards of both the children and the guardian(s) to the vaccination site.
Children should avoid excessive hunger and fatigue on the day of the vaccination and they should wear appropriate loose clothing for an easier vaccination.
The guardian(s) and their children should cooperate with health inquiries, complete the process of informed consent, and receive approval after a doctor's assessment before getting vaccinated.
Children should stay on-site for 30 minutes after being vaccinated and leave only after medical staff confirm that there are no adverse reactions.
After returning home, the guardian(s) should pay attention to the children's conditions. If the children experience adverse health conditions, the guardian(s) should report to the vaccination site and seek medical treatment immediately.
In the few days following vaccination, children should consume healthier and lighter foods, get good rest, and avoid excessive exercise and fatigue.