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Covid-19 Vaccines For Children: What Are The Side Effects? | Affinity Health

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, says knowledge is power, and this rings true when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccination.


Should Children Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?

In October 2021, South Africa extended the COVID-19 vaccination to adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years. While some parents rushed to get their children vaccinated, others held back, many of whom are still on the fence right now as to whether their children should get the jab or not.


Affinity Health encourages all parents to consult with their child’s healthcare provider as their first source of reliable information. This way, you can make an educated – and well-informed – decision.


One of the biggest concerns parents have about vaccinating their children against COVID-19 is whether there are dangerous side effects. There have been reports of youths suffering from mild side effects, but experts believe that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risk of side effects.


Countries including the United States, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland have already vaccinated many millions of adolescents. Their experience will guide countries that follow suit.


COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective, according to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).


It’s crucial to recognise that children may experience adverse effects after receiving an immunisation, and this is to be expected. It is merely a sign that your child’s immune system is doing its job, working hard to aid their body to create protection against the infection.


However, it’s also normal not to have any adverse effects at all, and parents shouldn’t be concerned that this suggests that the vaccination is not working for your child.


What Side Effects Can Children Experience?

All COVID-19 vaccines, including those from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech, can cause mild to moderate side effects in children and adults equally.


These include:
  • Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches


Symptoms often begin after a few days of receiving the vaccine and should subside within a few days. Keep in mind that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s negative effects are said to get worse after the second dose, so be prepared for that possibility.


What Is ‘COVID Arm’?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that some children may experience a red, itchy, swollen, or painful rash on the site where they got the jab. These rashes – which are known as ‘COVID arm’ –  tend to start within a few days to more than a week after the first shot and are sometimes quite large in size. Your child’s doctor will prescribe treatment, which can include antihistamines if the rash is itchy, and medicine, such as acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, for pain.


Rare And Complicating Side Effects Following The Covid-19 Vaccination

Anaphylaxis and fainting are rare side effects that may occur immediately after having the vaccine. This is why it’s important for your child to be observed for 15 minutes after each vaccine dose.


Although uncommon, there have been reports of cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart) happening after some COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States.


The problem occurs more often in adolescents (teens) and young adults and in males. The myocarditis or pericarditis in almost all cases is mild and resolves quickly.


If your child experiences severe headaches lasting longer than three days, severe abdominal pain, a rash of tiny red spots under the skin or around the injection site, leg pain or swelling, chest pain, or shortness of breath, this may suggest an extremely rare clotting condition. In this instance, you should seek medical attention for your child as soon as possible.


Should I Consider Getting My Child Vaccinated For COVID-19?

The highly contagious Delta variant, and the recent outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant Omnicon, which is driving the fourth wave, is a concern among those who have not been vaccinated, including children.


“Research confirms that the COVID-19 vaccines are our best chance of protecting ourselves from developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 after completion of the full dose series,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“If you have concerns over your child receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, don’t hesitate to speak to your child’s healthcare provider for solid and accurate advice.”

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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