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COVID vaccines for children ages 5-11

Last Modified: November 04, 2021

Family Medicine, Safety & Prevention


Children ages 5-11 are now eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine. We know parents have questions regarding the safety and efficacy of this protective measure, so we enlisted the expertise of Duane Hougendobler, MD, PPG – Pediatrics.

How do we know the vaccine is safe for children?

Yes, actually in the initial studies, children had less of a reaction than adults, and they’ve given many more vaccines since these original studies. There are no concerns from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Is the dosing different compared to the dosing adults receive?

Yes. Children ages 5 to 11 will get a smaller dose than adults. As of right now, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only option approved for this age group.

What sort of protection does the vaccine offer children?

When the first variant of the virus came around, kids faired relatively well, though it still took the lives of hundreds of children. The delta variant, however, has a much more severe effect on younger patients. We’ve seen a big burden on pediatric floors and the pediatric ICU. We’ve seen more deaths and long-hauler symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue and myocarditis. There’s no telling how long these symptoms could last, and there are likely more variants to come.

Simply put, the more people we get immunized, the less viral load there will be out there for the virus to mutate. This could help us keep the variants down and, for those who do get the virus, symptoms will be much more manageable.  

I’ll add to that, the more school-age children we get immunized, the more likely they can stay in school, continue with activities, such as athletics and arts programs, and the more “normal” their school year can be.

How dangerous is the COVID-19 virus for children under the age of 12?

There is always the risk of death, but we’re also seeing young people get a multi-system infection that affects pretty much everything. They could experience myocarditis (a heart complication), extended brain fog, headaches and fatigue. All of these can impact a child’s day-to-day life.  

What sort of side effects might a child experience from the vaccine?

Like with any injection, we are putting something into the immune system so that it can respond. The hope is that then, if the individual is exposed to the real virus, the immune system will recognize it and know how to fight it. As a result of the vaccine, kids might experience a fever, achiness or headache, but the most common side effect is soreness at the injection site.

Parents can give their children an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to relieve the symptoms. I also encourage a lot of fluids to help in the days following the vaccine.

Should children get the flu shot as well as the COVID vaccine?

Right now, the AAP and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) are encouraging all children to get both. These vaccines do not need to be spaced out. We saw a very mild flu season last year, as people were masking and keeping their distance. Our fear is that, with fewer people taking these precautions, we could see a robust flu season this year. If a child has the flu vaccine, they should experience less severe symptoms if they contract the virus.

Scheduling your child’s vaccine

To offer the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, Parkview Health has partnered with Super Shot, located at 1515 Hobson Road, Fort Wayne.

Super Shot offers a family-friendly setting, including private exam rooms and nurses who specialize in working with young children. Spanish and Burmese interpreters will also be available. The Hobson Road clinic is located on a major bus line, creating greater access for area families.

Parents can make appointments for their children at Super Shot by visiting or calling Super Shot at 260-424-7468. The clinic will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.

In Allen County, children can also receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Allen County Department of Health (ACDH) clinic, located at the Memorial Coliseum. The ACDH clinic will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently approved for use in the 5-11 age group. The vaccine requires two doses, given 21 days apart. Upon receiving their first dose, children will be scheduled for their second dose.

All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at their appointment. Individuals with health insurance coverage are encouraged to bring their insurance identification card. The vaccine is free and insurance coverage is not required.

To schedule an appointment or view a complete list of COVID-19 vaccination sites in Indiana, visit

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