Coronavirus vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 who are medically at risk
Children aged 5 to 11 with certain medical conditions, like severe lung or heart disease, are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. These children can get vaccinated.
Children with a severe medical condition will receive a personal invitation letter to get a coronavirus vaccination. The letter will also explain where the child can get vaccinated. You should always go to the vaccination appointment with your child.
Vaccination prevents hospitalisation
Getting your child vaccinated against coronavirus is your choice. Vaccination makes it less likely that your child will become seriously ill from a coronavirus infection or end up in hospital.
Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11
Primary vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 is done with 2 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine in a formula adapted for children. After this they can get a repeat vaccination. A dose of the children’s vaccine contains a smaller amount of the active ingredient than the dose for people aged 12 and over. The European Medicines Agency has approved the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for children.
Vaccination after coronavirus infection
Even if they have had coronavirus, children aged 5 to 11 who are medically at risk still get 2 doses of the vaccine for their primary series. After this they can get a repeat vaccination. There should be at least 3 months between testing positive for coronavirus and getting vaccinated.
Other vaccinations in the same period
It is safe for your child to get different vaccinations, such as the HPV, MMR or DTP vaccinations, in a short space of time. You don't have to reschedule these regular childhood vaccinations.
Side effects usually mild and short-lasting
Children can get side effects after the coronavirus vaccination but these are usually mild and only last a few days. The most common side effects are:
- soreness at the injection site
- redness at the injection site
- muscle ache
An allergic reaction to the vaccine is very rare, especially in children. An allergic reaction usually develops within 15 minutes. That is why you and your child should stay at the vaccination centre for 15 minutes after your child is vaccinated. In the unlikely event that your child gets an allergic reaction, the doctors and nurses there can give treatment right away.
Myocarditis and pericarditis
A large number of children have now received the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for children, and it is clear that the side effects in children are usually mild and short-lasting. Two extremely rare side effects are myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart). These effects hardly ever occur in children aged 5 to 11. If they do, it is usually after the second dose. In the United States almost 22 million children aged 5 to 11 had been vaccinated by 24 November 2022 and only 23 cases of myocarditis were reported. All these cases were mild and the children recovered quickly.
- To find out more about side effects, go to the website of the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb. You can also report side effects of vaccination there.