COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics recommends all children 5-years and older receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Please review our Frequently Asked Questions below or contact your pediatrician for more information.

 

 

How do I schedule an appointment for my child to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

We now offer the two dose Pfizer vaccine series at select UPMC CCP offices. We encourage you to schedule your child’s vaccine appointment at your UPMC CCP office or at any other UPMC CCP clinic that is convenient for your family. Click here to get started.

If your child is not a CCP patient, anyone can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine by visiting Vaccine.UPMC.com or calling 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Can I go to my UPMC CCP office to receive the vaccine?

We now offer the two dose Pfizer vaccine series at select UPMC CCP offices. As an established UPMC CCP patient, your child can visit any of our COVID-19 vaccine clinics that are convenient for your family. Find a list of COVID-19 clinics.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for my child?

The FDA has reviewed the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine through initial large studies and monitoring of millions of people who have received the vaccine all over the world. These vaccines are continuously undergoing additional studies to confirm the vaccine’s safety.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

According to data reported by Pfizer and reviewed by the FDA and CDC, the vaccine is more than 94%effective in preventing COVID-19. If your child does get infected after being vaccinated, the mRNA vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The effectiveness of the vaccine will continue to be monitored.

Does the vaccine have any side effects?

The most common side effects of the vaccines include pain and swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, fatigue, and headache. These are common for many vaccines because a vaccine triggers an immune response. The side effects should go away within a few days. An ice pack can be used on the injection site for comfort. If your child develops a fever, headache, or other symptoms, please contact your pediatrician to talk about ways to help, like acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or any other concerns you may have.

Is the vaccine a live virus?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine does not include the live virus that causes COVID-19.

Can the vaccine give my child COVID-19?

No. Since the COVID-19 vaccine does not include the live virus that causes COVID-19, your child cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

What if my child has allergies to vaccines?

True allergic reactions to mRNA vaccines have been rare. The FDA and CDC are monitoring vaccine reactions closely. If your child has a history of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine or vaccine component, consult your pediatrician or allergist before your child receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause fertility issues?

No. There is no evidence that the vaccine has any effects on fertility.

What is Myocarditis and does the COVID-19 vaccine cause it?

Myocarditis is an inflammation, or irritation, of the muscle of the heart.  Pericarditis is an irritation of the thin sack that surrounds the heart.  In both myocarditis and pericarditis, inflammation starts due to a trigger, typically an infection or other immune system trigger.  The most common symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath, a sensation of irregular heartbeats (palpitations).

Myocarditis has also been reported after COVID-19 vaccination.  It is a rare complication of vaccination and typically is much milder than post-COVID infection myocarditis.  The risk of myocarditis reported in the literature is much higher after COVID infection than with the vaccine.   In our experience here in Pittsburgh, there are nearly 10 times as many children and teens who developed MIS-C (a post COVID infection inflammatory illness that includes myocarditis) than have had vaccine associated myocarditis.  Those with post-vaccine myocarditis were quickly discharged (mostly after 1 day) and fully recovered promptly.

Multiple sources of data in this country and abroad show that the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 far outweigh the risk of vaccine associated issues.  We have a robust surveillance system to quickly identify any issues and we will keep updating recommendations as new data becomes available.  Your pediatrician will be happy to discuss any questions you may have about benefits and risks.

If children do not get as sick as adults, why should I vaccine my child against COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a complex and unpredictable illness. Symptoms can be mild or severe and life-threatening. There have been lingering effects in people of all ages.

After my child receives the vaccine, will they be contagious for COVID-19?

No. Since the COVID-19 vaccine does not include the live virus that causes COVID-19, your child cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine or give it to anyone that they come in contact with.

Will my child need a booster dose of the vaccine?

While it is possible that your child may eventually need a booster COVID-19 vaccine, this is not currently recommended for the 12-17 year old age group. Those in this age group who are immunocompromised are recommended to receive a 3rd dose of vaccine at least 1 month after completing the primary series.

Those over 18 years old with underlying medical conditions or at an increased risk for Covid-19 exposure and transmission due to occupational or institutional settings may qualify for a booster based on their own benefits and risks. If you have questions or think your child may qualify, please contact your pediatrician.

Why do I have to schedule the COVID-19 vaccine for my 5-year-old and my 13-year-old?

While both age groups (5 to 11-years and 12+) will receive the same two dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, younger children between the ages of 5 and 11 will receive one-third the dose given to adolescents and adults. To ensure all patients receive the proper dose based on their age, we are asking families to schedule differently.

Learn more about scheduling an appointment for the 5 to 11-year-old vaccine.

Learn more about scheduling an appointment for the 12 and older vaccine.

Can my child receive other vaccines, like the flu shot, after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines can be given without regard to timing. This includes same day administration of a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. Also, be sure that all your child’s vaccines are up-to-date, including Flu vaccine, to best protect against all vaccine preventable illnesses.

After my child is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, do they need to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19?

No. You should monitor your child for symptoms if they have been exposed to COVID-19. If symptoms such as fever or cough develop, please contact your pediatrician.

After my child is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, do they need to wear a mask?

Yes, currently the CDC recommends that your child continue to wear a mask in indoor public spaces since the vaccination of other people in these spaces is likely unknown.

Can we trust that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for our child?

The FDA has reviewed the safety and efficacy of the vaccine demonstrated by initial rigorous large studies and monitoring of millions of people who have received the vaccine all over the world.

When is my child considered fully vaccinated after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna.