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Pfizer COVID vaccine safe for children aged 5 to 11, CDC data show

A father sits with his son as his son receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a nurse.
Christian Garris, left, sits with son Nathaniel Garris, 10, of Pasadena, as he receives a child’s dose of the Pfizer vaccination from Jacqueline Valdez, at Eugene A. Obregon Park in Los Angeles in November.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
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Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine caused mostly mild side effects for children ages 5 to 11, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Results of a survey covering 30,000 children who each received two shots, show adverse reactions were similar to those seen in clinical trials, the CDC said. The phone survey found the most frequent reactions were injection site pain, fatigue and headache.

Another CDC database called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System found that of 8 million doses given, there were 11 verified reports of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that has been seen in teens and young adults, particularly males who received a higher dose of the vaccine. Seven of the 11 recovered and four were improving, the CDC said. The data is based on reports from parents, doctors and vaccine manufacturers.

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The Omicron-fueled surge that is sending COVID-19 cases rocketing in the U.S. is putting children in the hospital at close to record numbers.

Almost 98% of the 4,249 adverse events recorded weren’t serious, including 975 product preparation issues and 675 where the wrong dose was administered.

Of the 100 serious adverse events recorded in VAERS, 29 reported fever, 21 experienced vomiting and 15 had elevated troponin levels. Troponins are proteins found in the cells of the heart muscle and typically are measured to evaluate chest pain or other symptoms of myocardial damage, the CDC said.

Two deaths were reported in children with multiple chronic medical conditions. The CDC said an initial review did not show a link between the deaths and the vaccine.

The CDC data examined reports sent Nov. 3 through Dec. 19. The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE’s vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 at the end of October for a smaller dose than the one received by older youths and adults.


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