Everything You Need to Know About Newly Available COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids

A public health expert and an editor with The Atlantic talk about what it means now that young kids can get vaccinated, and the possibility for a child vaccine mandate in schools.

Despite the lingering threat of COVID-19 and the frustrations caused by Americans who refuse to get their shots, vaccines have provided a bit of comfort and protection for Americans who are vaccinated. Still, millions of Americans — specifically young children — have been excluded from the opportunity to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. That is, until now.

“This is really, really good news. It’s definitely a game changer, there’s no doubt about it” –Dr. Paul Kilgore, Wayne State University 

Kids aged 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine under an emergency use authorization from the FDA and the CDC, and more vaccines are likely to get approval soon. 

Listen: The concerns and excitement around COVID-19 vaccines for kids.


Dr. Paul Kilgore is an associate professor and director of research at Wayne State University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Kilgore says that there are mild symptoms that manifest in some children who have received the vaccine, including soreness and headaches. But he says that most children have not had to follow up with a pediatrician after receiving a shot. “This is really, really good news,” he says. “It’s definitely a game changer, there’s no doubt about it.” 

Rachel Gutman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic. Her most recent piece is titled “COVID-Vaccine Mandates for Kids Are Coming: But are they a good idea?” Gutman says there’s a lot to consider, including vaccine effectiveness, potential side effects and official vaccine approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). “Young kids are a really vulnerable population. You want to make extra sure to protect them just as you would all kids,” she says.

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