Federal health officials now recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed data from clinical trials and determined that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and provides strong protection for children ages 5 to 11.
Importance of COVID-19 vaccines for children
COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease, and now more of our children have access to its protection. Getting your child vaccinated:
- Is the best way to protect them and the people around them.
- Helps them stay safe during school, sports, and other social activities.
- Lets you know your child is protected from severe cases of COVID-19.
- Helps protect other vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors.
- Will reduce the time needed for quarantine if exposed to someone who has COVID-19.
As we prepare to gather with family and loved ones for the holidays, getting children vaccinated is the best way to keep everyone healthy and safe.
Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS), Mayo Clinic, and Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) all follow guidance from the CDC related to COVID-19 vaccinations, including 5 to 11-year-old vaccines. These organizations are now sharing details about their vaccination plans.
Olmsted County Public Health Services
OCPHS is not currently providing vaccines to children age 5-11. The department will first focus on completing primary and booster dose clinics that were scheduled before the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 before moving to this age group. If seeking vaccinations for eligible children, OCPHS encourages families to reach out to their primary care provider, check with their local pharmacy, or find a location on the MDH Vaccine Finder website.
Mayo Clinic locations in Minnesota have begun vaccinating children 5 to 11 for COVID-19.
Parents and legal guardians can use their Patient Online Services caregiver account or the Mayo Clinic App to schedule an appointment. If they don’t have a caregiver account for the 5- to 11-year-old and would like to set one up, they can call Mayo Clinic Customer Assistance at 877-858-0398.
Eligible patients in this age range for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been identified and will be contacted through Patient Online Services, or by mail, and be invited to schedule an appointment. Parents and legal guardians of children ages 5-11 can call Mayo Clinic in Rochester at 507-538-4040.
Children must be accompanied by their parents or guardians when they come for their vaccination appointment. If this is not possible, they can send along a signed consent form or make themselves available to provide consent for the vaccination by phone. The limitations box of the consent form should list the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as the service being authorized
Parents and legal guardians should tell their child’s health care provider about any allergies the child may have before being vaccinated.
Parents and legal guardians should not schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments if their children are isolated due to a COVID-19 infection or in quarantine from recent COVID-19 exposure. The children should undergo vaccination when they are no longer in isolation or quarantine. Vaccination should be delayed by 90 days for their children who received monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma or were given the diagnosis of COVID-19 — associated Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
Olmsted Medical Center
OMC is scheduling two vaccination clinics at the Rochester Northwest Clinic between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Appointments for the first dose will be available on November 13, 2021 and November 20, 2021. Appointments for the second dose will be available for December 4, 2021 and December 11, 2021. When coming to the Northwest Clinic, parents and guardians are asked to check in at the appointment desk in the main lobby.
OMC will reach out to parents and guardians through text or the telephone reminder system about how to schedule an appointment. For families who do not have a primary care provider at OMC, they can call 507-292-7300.
Some pharmacies are also providing COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11. You can find a location on the MDH Vax for Kids website.
Before you go, ensure the vaccine location provides the Pfizer vaccine to 5- to 11-year-olds. Not all Pfizer vaccine providers will have the vials specifically packaged for 5- to 11-year-old doses in their supply.
Preparing for vaccination
Parents and legal guardians should prepare children for their vaccine. Before the visit, they should talk about what to expect and comfort their children during the appointment. Parents and legal guardians should also prepare the children for possible side effects, which are normal signs that their body is responding to the vaccine. Common side effects include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, as well as fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea. Children should eat a good meal or snack, and drink plenty of water before being vaccinated for COVID-19.
Minnesota providers are now able to vaccinate eligible children ages 5 to 11. State providers have ordered as many doses as possible from the federal government. Doses will arrive in waves this week, with most providers receiving their vaccines by this weekend or early next week.
OCPHS, Mayo Clinic, and OMC continue to recommend and offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12‒15 under FDA emergency use authorization and older children and adults under the full FDA approval. They also recommend the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines as alternatives for adults 18 years and older.