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What you should know about COVID-19 vaccination for children between 5 and 11 years old

As of November 2, 2021, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation that children ages 5 to 11 get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.

In doing so, the CDC expanded vaccine recommendations to approximately 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allowed providers to begin vaccinating them immediately.

According to the federal agency, widespread vaccination against COVID-19 is a fundamental tool to protect all people, especially those at higher risk of becoming seriously ill and dying. “People who are fully vaccinated can safely resume many of the activities they did before the pandemic,” says the organization on its website.

Why Children and Teens Should Get Vaccinated for COVID-19

Although children are at a lower risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can

  • Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19

  • Get very sick from COVID-19

  • Have both short and long-term health complications from COVID-19

  • Spread COVID-19 to others

Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with children without underlying medical conditions. Children who get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can also develop serious complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)—a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Vaccines are safe for children and teens

Aware of some people's fear of vaccines, the CDC states that before recommending the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in children, scientists conducted clinical trials. "The FDA granted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine emergency clearance for COVID-19 for use in children 5 to 15 years of age and full approval for use in persons 16 years of age and older," they add. You can learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine development, authorization and approval process here.

Both the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC insist that the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks. Both agencies urge that children 5 years of age and older be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

More information on COVID-19

To obtain updated and reliable information about COVID-19, you can access the special CDC site or the website of the Puerto Rico Department of Health (available in Spanish only).

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