What you need to know about vaccinations for teens

Friday, April 2, 2021

By: Maria Baumgartner, MD | Family Medicine Resident, PGY-1

As a parent or guardian of a Junior or Senior in high school, you may have felt the devastation of the 2020 events cancelled during the pandemic just as much as your child did. This year, there’s some good news! The Pfizer vaccine can now be administered for those 16 and older. Here’s what you need to know about vaccinations for teens.

Talk to your pediatrician

  • For teens with underlying conditions, it’s recommended to talk to a pediatrician before getting vaccinated.
  • It’s good for your pediatrician to be aware where the symptoms might be coming from if a headache or fever rises.
  • If your child has already had the COVID-19, your pediatrician can talk with you about the best time to get the vaccine.

Find a vaccination site administering the right vaccine

  • Pfizer is the only vaccine that has been approved for anyone 16 and older.
  • Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are approved for anyone 18 and older.
  • If your teen is 16 or 17, call ahead of time to make sure the Pfizer vaccine is available at your preferred vaccination site.

Go with your child

  • Even though they might be old enough to drive independently, anyone under 18 will need a signed consent form from their parent or guardian.
  • They will need to stay at least 15 minutes after being vaccinated to ensure no serious side effects.
  • Confirm the date for the second shot and schedule that appointment if possible.

After the vaccine

  • Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated, but common side effects include soreness or inflammation at the injection site, headache, fever or muscle aches. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week.
  • Remember, the vaccine is not fully effective until two weeks after the final COVID-19 shot. Until then, they should continue to follow the 3ws – wearing their mask, washing their hands and watching their distance.

To find a vaccination site near you, visit nghs.com/covid-19/vaccine-updates/.