Q&A: COVID-19 vaccine shots for children
A child at an elementary school in Haikou, South China's Hainan province receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot on Oct 26, 2021. [Photo/VCG]
1. Why is it important for children to get COVID-19 vaccine shots?
Giving children COVID-19 vaccine shots is an important part of building up immunity barrier for the entire population, as well as an important measure to block the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Children infected by COVID-19 virus may develop critical conditions or worse.
2. Are COVID-19 vaccine shots for children voluntary?
Yes, getting COVID-19 vaccine shots for children is completely voluntary.
However, schools are densely populated areas. If imported COVID-19 cases occur within schools, it is easy to spread the virus. Thus, it is recommended for children who meet vaccination requirements to get vaccinated.
3. How safe are COVID-19 vaccine shots for children?
Children and adolescents have good tolerance of the COVID-19 vaccines.
According to clinical trial data, the COVID-19 vaccines tested for children between the ages of 3 to 11 safe after vaccination. It showed the same level of safety as the group of 12 years old and above. The level of neutralizing antibodies created in children is also the same as that of adults.
4. What are the potential side effects of COVID-19 vaccine shots for children?
The main potential side effects are fever and pain around the area of inoculation.
5. Are COVID-19 vaccine shots free for children?
Yes, the vaccine is free for children between 3 to 11 years old.
6. How many doses of COVID-19 vaccine shots should children get?
Children between 3 to 11 years old should get two doses of COVID-19 vaccine shots.
7. How long do children have to wait after completing the first COVID-19 vaccine shot to get a second one?
Children between 3 to 11 years old can receive a second COVID-19 vaccine shot three weeks (21 days) after completing the first one.
8. Which type of COVID-19 vaccines can be used for children?
Currently, COVID-19 vaccines that can be used for children are the inactivated virus vaccines developed by Sinopharm's Beijing Institute of Biological Products, Sinopharm's Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and Sinovac Biotech.
9. Can COVID-19 vaccine shots be inoculated with other vaccines at the same time for children?
In principle, COVID-19 vaccine shots cannot be administered at the same time with other vaccines, including vaccination under immunization programs.
The interval between different vaccinations needs to be more than two weeks (14 days).
Under special circumstances, such as animal bites or external traumatic injuries, the infected person should be vaccinated against rabies or tetanus regardless of the time interval.
10. Under what circumstances should children not get a COVID-19 vaccine shot?
- Children who are allergic to active ingredients, any of the inactive ingredients, and substances used in vaccine production processes.
- Children who have been allergic to vaccines of similar type in the past.
- Children who have had severe allergic reactions to vaccines in the past (such as acute allergic reaction and difficulty to breath, etc.)
- Children with uncontrolled epilepsy and other serious neurological diseases.
- Children who are currently experiencing fever, acute diseases, acute attacks of chronic diseases, or uncontrolled severe chronic diseases.
11. Should children who have been infected by COVID-19 virus in the past get a COVID-19 vaccine shot?
For children with history of COVID-19 virus infection, one dose of COVID-19 vaccine shot can be administered after 6 months (180 days) of previous infection.
12. Are children completely safe from the COVID-19 virus after finishing vaccination?
No COVID-19 vaccine can reach 100 percent effectiveness. Even after complete vaccination, children must continue adhering to public health guidelines and wearing personal health protections in crowded areas.
13. What are the precautions for children getting a COVID-19 vaccine shot?
Children between 3 to 11 years old who are getting a COVID-19 vaccine shot need to be with their guardian(s) during the entire vaccination process.
The guardian(s) need to be knowledgeable about all the information and requirements regarding COVID-19 vaccination in advance, and remember to bring the ID cards of both the children and the guardian(s) to the vaccination site.
The children should avoid limosis and fatigue and on the day of vaccination should wear appropriately loose clothes for easier inoculation.
The guardian(s) and their children should cooperate with health inquiries, complete the process of informed consent, and receive approval after doctor's assessment before getting vaccination.
The children should stay on site for 30 minutes after vaccination and leave only after confirming there are no adverse reactions.
After returning home, the guardian(s) should pay attention to the children's conditions. If the children experience adverse health conditions, the guardian(s) should report to the site of vaccination and seek medical treatment immediately.
The few days following vaccination, children should eat a healthier and lighter diet, have good rests, and avoid excessive exercises and fatigue.