Side effects parents should watch out for as kids call for Covid shots

The NHS is now offering coronavirus vaccines for children aged 5 to 11. Parents across the country have received letters to let them know their child is eligible for the vaccine and how they can get their first dose.

However, some parents are understandably concerned about the side effects their children may have from the vaccine. The UK Health Safety Agency has released a series of advice and information to reassure them of its safety.

They say: “Experts have advised that parents of all children aged 5-11 be offered the opportunity to have their child vaccinated. Vaccination is particularly important for children who have health conditions that put them at risk of high risk of COVID-19 because the benefits are greater.”

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Here’s everything parents need to know about the vaccine for their children.

Will the vaccine protect your child?

As with adults, vaccination against Covid-19 will reduce the risk of your child suffering from the disease. The NHS says it may take a few weeks for their body to protect itself from the blow.

The vaccine will also protect against future variants of the virus. It is believed that taking two doses will give your child long-lasting protection against complications from the infection.

However, the vaccine is not completely effective. Some children can still catch covid despite being bitten – although this is probably less serious.

What vaccine will your child receive?

Children aged 5 to 11 will be offered the Pfizer vaccine. Their vaccine will be a third of the dose given to older children and adults.

Most children will receive two doses 12 weeks apart. Those most at risk of serious illness will receive their injections eight weeks apart.

The government reiterated that the vaccine has been tested to ensure it is as safe as possible.

What side effects could your child have?

The vaccine can cause side effects. However, most of them are mild and not everyone will get them.

Common side effects, which usually last a day or two, include:

  • feeling of pain, heaviness and tenderness in the arm where you received your injection. It tends to be worse about 1-2 days after vaccination
  • Feeling tired
  • headache
  • general pain or mild flu-like symptoms

The government says your child should rest if they have side effects. They add that they might need to take a day off from school.

Symptoms following vaccination usually last less than a week. If your child’s side effects get worse, you can call 111.

There are also less common side effects to the vaccine. These include:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling like your heart is beating fast, fluttering, or pounding

If your child has any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor by calling 111 or visiting NHS website.

How to make an appointment?

All the information you will receive will explain how to arrange an appointment for vaccination. You can call the national booking service on 119 to make an appointment or visit the NHS booking portal here.

The NHS says you will need to take your child to a local vaccination center or pharmacy. Once they have received their first injection, you will receive a registration card which you must keep.

Then you need to bring the card to their second date, which is usually 8-12 weeks after the first.

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