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On November 2, the CDC recommended all children ages 5 to11 years old receive their COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine is approved for children ages 5 to 11 as a two-dose series taken three weeks apart. This approval expands eligibility to more individuals and is another step as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Scientists and medical experts completed their review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials of thousands of children. After rigorously testing and reviewing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC approved the pediatric dose for this age group. 

While most children have mild symptoms from COVID-19, we know that the disease can lead to severe outcomes.  Tragically for thousands of children and teens, COVID-19 led to hospitalization, and we know that COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 causes of pediatric death since the pandemic’s start.    

Getting vaccinated is safe, effective, and free. It is the best way to protect children 5 and up from COVID-19. As more individuals are vaccinated, we lower the continued risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.  That is why parents are encouraged to help protect their children and their families by getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  And it’s not just about protecting you or your family; by getting your child vaccinated, you are protecting your community, especially those who may be at high risk.

As we approach the holiday season, it is increasingly important for parents to consider vaccinations for their children.  This can include the COVID-19 vaccine and also the flu vaccine.  Those eligible for both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine can get those vaccines at the same time.  You can check vaccines.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you. While you are scheduling your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, ask if they have the flu vaccine available as well. 

We know since the start of the pandemic, many kids have missed out on certain activities or opportunities as we have all taken steps to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus.  Getting your child vaccinated will give them the needed protection and give you a sense of relief as they get back to more of the activities they love, including playing sports, attending birthday parties, and spending time with family members and friends. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit covid19.tn.gov.