Fewer side effects for kids from COVID vax

A third of Australian children aged 5-11 years old are experiencing fewer side effects than the rest of the eligible population following their second dose of Pfizer vaccination, according to new surveillance data.

The latest COVID-19 vaccination safety data from AusVaxSafety indicates that 33 per cent of children experienced one or more expected side effects in the first three days after receiving their second dose of Pfizer. This is compared with 53 per cent of the Australian population aged 12 years and older.

Children in this age group were also less likely to visit a doctor or emergency department following their second dose, with medical attendance rates similar to those reported for other childhood immunisations.

The most common side-effects reported among children aged 5-11 years old were local reactions (pain at injection site, swelling, redness and itching) followed by fatigue and headache. These reactions are generally mild and short-lived, with most children recovering within three days.

Associate Professor Nick Wood, Associate Director of Clinical Research and Services at the National Centre for Immunisation, Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and Staff Specialist Paediatrician at SCHN, said the data is hoped to give parents extra  comfort by providing Australian-specific information on what to expect following COVID-19 vaccination.

“Australian data analysed to date are extremely reassuring and are in line with what has been observed internationally for this age group," A/Prof Wood said.

The new data builds on dose 1 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safety data published by AusVaxSafety in January 2022.To date, AusVaxSafety has received more than 130,000 completed day 3 safety surveys from parents and carers of children aged 5–11 years who received Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and will perform ongoing monitoring for this age group.

Children aged five years and above can receive their vaccinations through a general practitioner, pharmacy or a NSW Health Vaccination Centre - just like the ones at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Bookings can be made via the NSW Government website.

To find out more about vaccine safety and efficacy in children, visit reputable websites like www.nsw.go.au or www.ncirs.org.au or www.tga.gov.au