Two corona vaccines are now approved for children and adolescents – but how safe are they? An overview of which vaccination reactions and side effects have been observed.
Two corona vaccines are currently also approved for children and adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age in Germany: the preparation from Biontech / Pfizer since the end of May and the US manufacturer’s “Spikevax” vaccine since July Modern. Both are effective against a disease with Covid-19 – according to current studies, also against the predominant one Delta-Variant.
In general, all 12 to 17-year-olds can now receive corona vaccinations with the vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna in vaccination centers or with resident doctors. However, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) has so far only recommended the injection if there is a higher risk of severe disease, for example in previously ill children. According to Stiko, there is still a lack of scientific data on the safety of the vaccination. The decision for or against a vaccination against Covid-19 ultimately rests with the children and their parents.
While the benefits and risks of child vaccination are still being discussed in this country, those responsible in the USA, including the Association of Pediatricians (American Academy of Pediatrics), almost unanimously appeal to parents to protect younger people from infection in this way. Children and young people there have been vaccinated against Corona since May.
What vaccination reactions and side effects have been observed so far?
As with all vaccinations, the corona vaccines can also cause side effects. This is normal because the vaccine stimulates the immune system. Since children have a very active and adaptive immune system, the vaccine reactions can be stronger than in adults. The reactions usually subside after one to three days. And even if there were no side effects, the vaccination was successful.
It turns out that the vaccine of Biontech/ Pfizer, the following vaccine reactions were most frequently reported:
- about 90 percent of the children and adolescents had pain at the injection site
- 70 percent suffered from fatigue and headache
- more than 40 percent had muscle aches and chills
- and more than 20 percent had a fever and joint pain.
Swelling of the lymph nodes or allergic reactions are also possible. So-called anaphylactic reactions occurred in less than 1 in 100,000 vaccinations. As a rule, these have no consequences. The drug authorities continue to closely monitor and review such cases.
Serious adverse events – such as facial paralysis, thrombosis or neurological symptoms – that were rated as vaccine-related did not occur in the pivotal study.
Possible side effect heart muscle inflammation – how big is the risk?
In the past few months, however, during vaccination with mRNA vaccines from Biontech and Moderna, inflammation of the heart muscle and pericardium has been observed in very rare cases. The US health authority CDC speaks of a frequency of about 1 in 18,000 among 12 to 17 year olds. Male adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have the highest risk.
In the vast majority of cases, the inflammation, combined with slight pain in the chest, disappeared on its own after a few days. According to experts, it can be assumed that in most cases there will be no long-term consequences.
The heart muscle inflammation is a safety signal for the European and US regulatory authorities that they are continuing to monitor. From the point of view of science, it is still unclear what connection there is between myocarditis and the vaccination.
For the CDC and also the European Medicines Agency Ema, the benefit of the Covid vaccination for children far outweighs the risk of side effects that have so far rarely been identified.
Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.