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By the Minnesota Council of Health Plans and the Minnesota Hospital Association

With COVID-19 transmission among students being a top concern this school year, it’s imperative that parents do their homework to give their kids the tools they need to stay protected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this means getting kids 12 and older their COVID-19 vaccine. While fewer children have been stricken with COVID than adults, kids can still be infected with the virus, become ill from COVID, as well as transmit it to others, the CDC reports.

The CDC recommends the COVID vaccine for both kids 12 years-plus and adults, as immunization is key in protecting against serious illness and ending this pandemic. Children 12 years and older are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Clinical trials are underway to evaluate the safety and efficacy of vaccines in younger children. Pfizer and BioNTech recently announced that the COVID vaccine is safe and appears to generate a strong immune response in a clinical trial of children 5 to 11. This age group may be eligible for vaccination by the end of the October.

Getting kids their COVID vaccine is especially important now, as pediatric hospitalizations are reaching record numbers nationwide. And with most schools going back to in-person learning, doctors and health officials fear that hospitalizations among kids may increase as the new Delta variant could drive COVID transmission higher.

The CDC says that parents should get a COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 and older as soon as they can. Some facts you should know, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens page, include:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • COVID vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents.
  • Your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 3 weeks after their first shot.
  • Children and adolescents receive the same dosage of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as adults. There are no patient weight requirements for COVID-19 vaccination, and COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight.
  • Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit or without waiting 14 days between vaccines.

COVID-19 shots are also widely available. You can visit your regular doctor, or you can get it at most pharmacies, clinics and retail clinics and other locations. The State of Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector is another tool that helps Minnesotans find out when, where, and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Also remember that health plans cover the COVID-19 vaccine without charging members a copayment or coinsurance.

Talk with your doctor about getting your kids the COVID-19 vaccine as well as making sure they are up to date with their other immunizations. Staying healthy and protected against preventable illnesses will help ensure your child’s success!