The most common side effects of the COVID vaccine for babies and children under 5 years old

three year old cuban preparing arm for covid 19 vaccination

Roxana Montano, age 3, received a dose of Soberana Plus (a Cuban COVID-19 vaccine) on August 24, 2021.Adalberto Roque/AFP via Getty Images

  • Pfizer and Moderna have COVID vaccines for children as young as 6 months old — which could start weaponizing next week.

  • Both companies say the side effects for babies and children are generally milder than for older people.

  • The most common side effect for babies was irritability – for children, arm pain was number 1.

The wait is almost over for US parents eagerly awaiting authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for babies and children under 5.

Independent advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously on Wednesday, urging the regulatory agency to give the green light to Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for children up to 6 months of age. (The change still requires final approval from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this weekend, which means the injections could finally start making their way into children’s arms next week.)

Prior to the FDA’s public meeting, the agency released independent reviews of both pediatric vaccines. The analyzes suggest that the injections from both drug makers are safe and effective for containing COVID-19 — although, like the injections for adults, they do not fully prevent coronavirus infections, especially with the highly infectious variant Omicron circulating.

FDA reviews of Pfizer and Moderna baby vaccines include breakdowns of the most common side effects for each brand, broken down by age.

Moderna’s vaccine, which includes a higher dose of mRNA than Pfizer’s, comes with more side effects, while Pfizer’s low-dose vaccine takes longer to take effect. more general tamer side effects as a result.

Side effects of these COVID-19 vaccines, if they arise, usually begin about a day or two after the vaccine is given and last about 24 to 48 hours on average. While they are a little unpleasant, they are also a sign that the vaccine is working and the body’s immune system is revving up. However, many babies and young children never experience much of a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, and that, too, is perfectly normal.

The most common side effect for babies who received Pfizer’s 3-dose vaccine was irritability.

In Pfizer’s 6-month to 2-year age group, the main side effects were:

  1. Irritability (51%)

  2. Drowsiness (27%)

  3. Decreased appetite (22%)

  4. Injection site sensitivity (17%)

  5. Fever (7%)

Babies who received Moderna’s 2-dose vaccine were also cranky for a few days afterwards.

In the Moderna 6-month to 2-year age group, the main side effects were:

  1. Irritability (82%)

  2. Pain at the injection site (56%)

  3. Drowsiness (51%)

  4. Decreased appetite (46%)

  5. Fever (22%)

  6. Swelling and redness at the injection site (18%)

Children who received the Pfizer vaccine were tired and had arm pain

Children who received the Pfizer vaccine had relatively few side effects.

Study participants aged 2 to 5 years reported:

  1. Pain at the injection site (31%)

  2. Fatigue (30%)

  3. Redness at the injection site (11%)

Most children who received Moderna had some arm pain.

2-year-olds who received the Moderna vaccine had symptoms similar to the babies in the study, including:

  1. Pain at the injection site (77%)

  2. Irritability (71%)

  3. Drowsiness (50%)

  4. Decreased appetite (42%)

  5. Fever (26%)

  6. Redness at the injection site (18%), swelling (16%)

Symptoms for children ages 3 to 6 who received Moderna were more similar to what older children and adults experience.

Children ages 3 to 6 who received Moderna’s two-dose vaccine experienced:

  1. Pain at the injection site (84%)

  2. Fatigue (62%)

  3. Headache (23%)

  4. Muscle pain (22%)

  5. Fever (21%)

  6. Chills (17%)

  7. Nausea, vomiting (15%)

  8. Swelling, sensitivity (14%)

It is too early to know what the true vaccine effectiveness of these injections is.

Both Moderna and Pfizer have released some initial estimates of the vaccine’s effectiveness for children (based on tests on a few thousand volunteers), but it’s worth treating both numbers with a healthy dose of skepticism given their highly preliminary nature.

Pfizer estimated that its vaccine was about 80% effective, a figure based on just 10 cases of COVID-19 observed over 40 days. Moderna’s vaccine effectiveness estimate of approximately 40% to 50% for children ages 6 months to 6 years does not include a third dose (booster), which the company is testing in this age group now.

Dr. Amanda Cohn of the CDC said during the meeting on Wednesday that “I really hope” people don’t put too much faith in the different efficacy numbers because they are based on such a small number of cases in such a short period of time. of time.

“I believe the vaccine is effective, I have no idea what that number will actually be,” she said.

The true measure of success of these vaccines will be seen over time, based on how well they keep young children out of the hospital and in preventing more COVID-19 deaths among infants and young children. Hospitalization and mortality rates from COVID-19 were higher in children under 5 years of age than among school-age children (ages 6 to 17 years) who have had the option to be vaccinated against the virus for many months.

“I think we have to be careful not to become desensitized to the number of pediatric deaths because of the overwhelming number of elderly deaths,” Dr. Peter Marks, head of the Research Center, told the meeting, emphasizing that the hospitalization rate in young children has been “worrying” and pediatric mortality trends are far worse than even a very bad flu year.

“Every life matters. Vaccine-preventable deaths are the ones we would like to try to do something about,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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