I heard that the COVID-19 vaccine has caused serious side effects and death in young children. Is this true?

Question: 

I heard that the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine has caused serious side effects and death in young children. Is this true?

Answer: 

The two pediatric mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 to 11 years of age were shown to be safe in clinical trials. We also have real-world data as millions of children have safely received the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA Vaccine.  Vaccine safety monitoring shows that:

  • The mRNA pediatric vaccines are safe.
  • Side effects are mostly mild.
  • Serious side effects are rare.
While there have been reports of death in young children following COVID-19 vaccination in the US, there is no evidence that the vaccine caused the deaths. 
 
  • A vaccine’s safety is continuously monitored after approval through the reporting of adverse events (an adverse event is an unexpected medical event that happens after vaccination that may or may not have been caused by the vaccine). 
  • A report of a death or other adverse event following vaccination does not mean that the vaccine caused it.
  • All reports of adverse events are investigated to determine if the event was caused by the vaccine or by something else that happened around the same time the vaccine was given.
  • The reporting of adverse events helps keep vaccines safe and helps ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh any risks. 
  • For a vaccination program to continue, the benefits of the vaccine must outweigh any known or potential risks.

Learn more about how vaccine safety is monitored.

In the video below, BC Children’s Hospital Infectious Disease Pediatric Physician Dr. Manish Sadarangani discusses how there has been no concern around significant adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination in children ages 5-11.

 

 

 
In this video, Dr. Julia Orkin, pediatrician at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto & Medical Lead for the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service, answers the question: What are the most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in children?

Date last reviewed: 
Friday, Mar 25, 2022