The COVID Vaccine is now available to kids ages 12-15 in Richmond and Henrico!
On May 13th, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will begin opening up our vaccination events to children ages 12-15 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This is a major milestone in our fight against the pandemic and our efforts to keep our children as safe as possible. Vaccinating kids ages 12-15 will further limit community spread and make it safer for kids to attend school in person and engage in social and recreational activities. Here is everything you need to know about how the vaccine works and how to help your child get vaccinated when your family is ready.
How effective is the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12-15?
During clinical trials, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 100% efficacy (effectiveness during clinical trials) and strong antibody responses when tested on kids both with and without prior evidence of COVID-19 infection. This is the best protection we have yet seen against the COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials—meaning kids ages 12-15 may be even better protected than older teens and adults if they receive the vaccine.
Is the Pfizer vaccine safe for kids ages 12-15?
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was tested during extensive clinical trials which included 2,260 adolescents ages 12-15. During clinical trials, none of the participants became severely ill. Pfizer has also committed to tracking all trial participants for two full years following their vaccination, and no participant has experienced serious side effects since the trials completed.
Individuals with a known history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any component of the Pfizer vaccine are a noted exception and should not receive this vaccine.
What are the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 12-15?
Side effects for the vaccine for kids ages 12-15 are generally consistent with those observed in people ages 16-25 who received the vaccine. Common side effects included pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Less common but still not serious side effects are injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, malaise, and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes).
Does the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12-15 use the same technology/approach as the Pfizer vaccine for adults?
Yes, both vaccines use the same mRNA technology to help your body develop an immune response to COVID-19. mRNA is a small piece of material that cells use to send messages. In Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, mRNA is wrapped in a protective fat layer and tells your cells to make a spike protein from COVID-19. When your body senses the protein, it builds up defenses to protect you in the future. You cannot get COVID-19 from this method of vaccination.
What is the difference in dosage between the vaccine for kids 12-15 and people 16 and older? Is the dose right for my child if they are particularly large or small for their age?
The dose for kids ages 12-15 is the same for those who are 16 and older. Kids ages 12-15 are eligible to receive the vaccine regardless of their height/weight.
Is the recommended duration between the first and second dose the same for kids 12-15 as it is for adults?
Yes, the recommended interval between first and second doses for kids ages 12-15 is 21 days—same as the vaccine for people 16 and older.
Will the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12-15 be available everywhere vaccines for adults are available? Will we be able to get the vaccine in our pediatrician’s office?
Any of Richmond and Henrico Health District’s vaccination events that offer the Pfizer vaccine will also offer the vaccine to 12-15-year-olds. All pharmacies listed on vaccines.gov that offer the Pfizer vaccine will also offer the vaccine to kids in this age group.
Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are reaching out to pediatricians across our region to engage them as vaccine providers, so the vaccine may be available at your pediatrician’s office in the coming weeks—check with them directly to learn more. We may also partner with local school systems to hold vaccination events on-site at schools over the summer and will share information on our website and through our school partners as soon as we have more details.
What sort of permission or consent is needed from a parent or guardian for kids ages 12-15 to get the Pfizer vaccine?
A legal parent, guardian, or other adult who has been given permission by a parent or guardian must sign a consent form for a child ages 12-15 to receive the vaccine, The form is electronic and can be signed on-site at the vaccination clinic. An adult must also accompany the child to the vaccination appointment, though it is not required that the adult be the child’s legal guardian—for example, a 15-year-old who is accompanied by an older sibling who is a legal adult and has permission (verbal or written) from their parent or guardian would be allowed to receive the vaccine.
Checklist for 12-15-year-olds receiving the Pfizer COVID Vaccine
- Schedule an appointment or find a walkup clinic.
- Use vaccines.gov to find pharmacies or other providers in your area that have available vaccine doses. Vaccines.gov will show you a map of all the locations in your area that have Pfizer vaccine doses in stock. You can then visit the website of individual providers or call them to find available appointment times or walk-up hours.
- Contact your pediatrician to find out if they will be offering the Pfizer vaccine in their office for kids ages 12-15.
- Visit rchd.com to learn about walkup events that offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, or fill out a simple online form and schedule an appointment at one of our vaccination events.
- Call (804) 205-3501, Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm, to schedule an appointment at one of our vaccination events.
- Get permission and bring an adult.
- A parent, guardian, or other adult who is 18 and older must accompany the child being vaccinated. If possible, the adult should bring some form of identification with or without a photo, but this is not required.
- If the adult accompanying the child is a parent or guardian, they will be asked to sign an online consent form before the child is vaccinated.
- If the adult is not a parent or guardian, they will be asked to verify that the parent is aware that the child is being vaccinated and has given their consent before signing the consent form. Vaccine providers are unable to vaccinate any child whose parent or guardian has not given consent.
- Bring ID for the child if you have it (but it’s fine if you don’t!).
- If the 12-15-year-old being vaccinated has identification such as a school ID, school health form, or other school record, please bring it to the vaccination event. However, ID is not required in order to be vaccinated. The only information a person must share at the vaccination clinic is their name and date of birth.
- Tell other parents and guardians about your decision to get the vaccine.
- Our children are safest as they head back to school if as many students as possible have received the vaccine, and your gentle encouragement may help someone else decide the Pfizer COVID vaccine is right for their family. Talk with friends, family, and other parents or guardians in your community about the Pfizer COVID vaccine and share your child’s experience with getting vaccinated.
If you have questions about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or need assistance with scheduling your vaccine appointment, call the Richmond and Henrico COVID-19 Hotline at (804) 205-3501.