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Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccine: What Parents Should Know 

With the recent approval of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12–15 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents are encouraged to get their children vaccinated. Data shows it is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. 

Family medicine physician at Overlake Clinics Primary Care Sammamish and mother of three, Frida Pena Benitez, MD, answers your questions about vaccinating children against COVID-19, and discusses the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

Q: Should my 12- to 15-year-old get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Dr. Pena Benitez – Yes, anyone ages 12 years and up should get vaccinated against COVID-19. It will help provide protection against COVID-19 disease and help decrease the spread of the virus to others, especially loved ones who may be more vulnerable. 

In addition to this, getting vaccinated helps our state and country achieve that golden percentage of 70% required to guarantee herd immunity (herd immunity means enough people are immune to a disease to stop its spread). This, in turn, will help with getting things back to normal at schools and our lives in general. 

Being vaccinated will also help prevent serious complications from COVID-19 and hospitalizations.

Q: Is the vaccine safe? Has this age group participated in clinical trials of the vaccine? 

A: Yes. The vaccine is safe, effective and was approved for emergency use by the FDA.

Trials were conducted in the 12- to 15-year-old age group. The safety of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was evaluated in participants 12 years of age and older in two clinical studies conducted in the United States, Europe, Turkey, South Africa and South America.

Q: Are the side effects in children the same as in adults?

A: The side effects that have been reported are the same as in older age groups. The most common side effects are very mild and can include arm soreness, headaches, fatigue or chills, and usually only last one or two days.

Q: Is the dose the same as for adults?

A: Yes, the dose is the same for 12- to 15-year-olds as it is for adults.

Q: Will the vaccine alter my child’s DNA?

A: The vaccine will not alter their DNA. This is because what is being injected is mRNA, essentially instruction for your cells to generate the spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus, which spurs an immune response and creation of antibodies specific to the coronavirus spike protein. mRNA vaccines do not contain any coronavirus particles.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with parents who may be hesitant to get their child vaccinated?

A: We are all in this together, and the more people who get vaccinated, the faster we will achieve herd immunity and get back to our normal lives.

Schedule Your or Your Child’s Vaccine Today

In collaboration with EvergreenHealth and Microsoft, Overlake is vaccinating our community members at the King County Vaccination Partnership-Redmond. Please call (425) 899-3933 for an appointment today. 

You may also schedule an appointment online by completing our online vaccination pre-registration. After pre-registration, a link will be sent via email for scheduling. 

Walk-ins are welcome at the Microsoft Conference Center, Building 33, 16070 NE 36th Way, Redmond, WA 98052

Everyone under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive a vaccination.

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