COVID-19 vaccines for kids: What parents need to know before the shot

Coronavirus Vaccine

A child wears a pin she received after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at the Beaumont Health offices in Southfield, Michigan on November 5, 2021. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (WJW) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have issued a recommendation to parents about what not to do before taking their little ones to get the COVID-19 shot.

“It is not recommended you give pain relievers before vaccination to try to prevent side effects,” the CDC says on their website.

The recommendation is in place because there’s a chance that pain relievers like ibuprofen might not just dull side effects – they could also dull your body’s antibody response to the vaccine.

“There are data in the vaccine literature, long predating COVID-19 and almost all [done] in children, that premedication with [fever-reducing drugs] like acetaminophen or ibuprofen decrease the antibody response to the first dose of vaccine,” infectious disease specialist Dr. David Cennimo said in an interview with Healthline.

The CDC says you’ll need a green light from your child’s doctor before using a non-aspirin pain reliever at home after your child gets vaccinated. In general, aspirin is not recommended for children under 18 years of age.

The CDC also details what you should do when vaccinating your child:

  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Your child should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given, to prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting.
  • Also during that 15 minutes after your child gets the shot, he or she should stick around in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.
  • You can place a cool, damp cloth on the injection site to help with discomfort.

Possible side effects are pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. They might also feel tired, get a headache, have chills or develop a fever. These side effects are similar to what adults sometimes experience, and should go away in a few days, according to the CDC.

Last week, child-sized doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were approved unanimously by a CDC panel and many pharmacies, doctor’s offices and hospitals already have them.

Among the 3,109 children in the clinical trial that evaluated the Pfizer vaccine in the 5 to 11 age group, there were no serious side effects, the FDA said in granting emergency use authorization for the vaccine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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