Coping with COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

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The development of modern medicine is truly extraordinary. The most recent example of this is the rapid development of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19. 

We recently received wonderful news that certain vaccines are being approved for children between 5 and 11 years old. This is great for individual and public health!

However, this great opportunity comes at a small cost. Your child may feel a bit more low energy than usual and could experience some side effects. In general, there is no need to worry if your child experiences side effects to the vaccine – it’s to be expected. 

If your child is scheduled to get the vaccine, follow the tips below to manage potential side effects:

  1. Clear your child’s schedule for a few days after the vaccine. Side effects to the vaccine vary considerably across individuals. However, if possible, schedule the vaccine around a time when your child will have ample time to rest. A great option is to schedule your child to be vaccinated on a Friday morning and clear your child’s weekend for rest and relaxation. 
  2. Know the signs of typical vaccine side effects. mRNA vaccines, such as those developed by Pfizer and Moderna, commonly have side effects. Under most circumstances, there is nothing to fear aside from temporary discomfort. Your child may experience pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Moreover, they may experience fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, fevers, and nausea. Keep in mind that if your child is experiencing side effects, this is likely an indication that the vaccine is beginning to work and your child is developing immunity against COVID-19. 
  3. Mentally prepare your child for possible side effects. Before your child gets vaccinated, it is important to have a conversation with them about the possible side effects. Reiterate to them the importance for personal and community wellness to get vaccinated, and let them know that side effects are temporary. Allow them to ask you or their pediatrician any questions they may have. Let them know that you are encouraging them to get vaccinated because you love them and that you want them to stay safe and get back to the activities they enjoyed pre-pandemic.  
  4. Be cautious with pain relievers. Experts recommend against providing your child with pain relievers before vaccination because it is unknown if this may interfere with vaccine effectiveness. Generally, do not provide your child with aspirin to cope with pain associated with side effects. Ask your pediatrician what they would recommend in terms of the type of medication, timing of administration, and dosage for pain relievers following your child’s vaccination. 
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