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Yes. Comprehensive clinical trials in more than 4,500 children ages 5 to 11 demonstrate the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group, resulting in a strong antibody response in children who received the vaccines.
Clinical trials began in June for 5 to 11 year-olds in which a lower dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was tested. Pfizer announced in late September that their data demonstrated the vaccine is safe and produces a significant immune response. After this thorough study and the clinical trials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Western States Scientific Review Group reviewed all data and recommended the vaccine for all children ages 5 to 11.
There's consistent and real-world evidence of the vaccine's safety and effectiveness. The vaccine has been given safely to millions of youth since it was authorized for ages 16 and up last December and for ages 12 and up in May.
California was allocated 1.2 million pediatric doses with additional supply from the federal government becoming available in the coming weeks. Distribution of these vaccines will be the same as throughout the vaccination effort with direct shipments to local health jurisdictions and providers.
The COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 contains a smaller amount of the same mRNA material that has been given safely to millions of youth since it was authorized for ages 16 and up last December and for ages 12 and up in May.
The dosage of Pfizer's ages 5 to 11 vaccine is in two, 10-micrograms (mcg) doses administered 21 days apart. This dosage is one-third of the adolescent and adult dose of two, 30-mcg doses.
The clinical trials demonstrated a robust antibody response and favorable safety outcomes in kids ages 5 to 11 who received the two-dose regimen.
After COVID-19 vaccination, some children - like adults - may have some mild side effects like soreness, headache, fever, chills. These are normal signs that your body is building immunity and, while they may affect your child's ability to do daily activities, they should go away in a few days.
Some people have no side effects at all. The risks from COVID-19 far outweigh the possible mild side effects from the vaccine.
Children are susceptible to serious complications from the virus and will benefit from the protection given by the vaccine. COVID-19 is the 8th leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 11. Children can also experience "long COVID" and in some instances, the virus has caused Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), in which a hyperactive immune system attacks the child's body.
California will administer vaccines with the strategies laid out in the state's COVID-19 Vaccine Action Plan (PDF). The state will be leveraging existing infrastructure and partnerships currently used to administer vaccines for 12 and up. This includes working closely with local health departments, schools, community partners and others to administer vaccines safely and equitably through mobile clinics and vaccine pop-ups in hardest-hit communities across the state.
There are many ways to get your eligible children vaccinated by either making an appointment or visiting a walk-in clinic. You can call your pediatrician or local health clinic to schedule your child's vaccination appointment. You can also visit the MyTurn website or call 833-422-4255 to find a vaccine near you.
Scientists and doctors recommend that children and adolescents ages 5 and up get the vaccine, even if they've had COVID-19. We don't know how long someone is protected from getting sick after recovering from the virus. And we don't know whether the immunity developed against one strain provides enough protections against new variants.
Here's what we know: These free, safe, and effective vaccines will help kids fend off the worst outcomes of this infectious virus, including the highly contagious Delta variant.