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Your Covid-19 questions answered

What side effects can my child expect after getting the jab?

20 October 2021 - 07:00
A single dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to children between 12 and 17 years old.
A single dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to children between 12 and 17 years old.
Image: 123RF/ seventyfour74

The vaccine rollout for children between 12 and 17 years old will kick off from Wednesday. 

Health minister Joe Phaahla said last week the decision followed a recommendation by the vaccine ministerial advisory committee (VMAC) which was supported by health MECs and the cabinet. 

Phaahla said a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine would be administered because it was the safest and the timing of the second dose would be informed by further information on observed side effects.

“The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by Sahpra for this age group and will be used for this purpose,” said Phaahla. “The VMAC advised that for now we give one dose while assessing information which suggests that in a few cases there have been short-lived cases of transient myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) after two doses. 

“The timing of the second dose will be informed by further information on this rarely observed side effect which has no permanent risk.”

Should I consider getting my child vaccinated for Covid-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there are many benefits to getting children vaccinated, such as protection and prevention against the virus. 

“Getting a Covid-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting Covid-19. Early information shows that the vaccines may help keep your child from getting seriously sick even if they do get Covid-19,” said the CDC.

Are the side effects the same in children?

According to Phaahla, the side effects are rare and have no permanent risk.

The CDC noted that possible side effects include mild chest pain or possible heart inflammation in a small percentage of teens and young adults soon after getting the vaccine.

It also found tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea among the most common side effects. 

How can I prepare my child for the vaccine?

Some of the tips that have been suggested for preparing children for vaccination include supporting your child before, during, and after getting vaccinated. 

Parents are advised to tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies their child may have.

After the vaccination, the child will be asked to stay for 15-30 minutes for observation in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.

“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,” the CDC advises.