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Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine side effects and safety for children

Millions of children around the world have had a COVID-19 vaccine.

The independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is very effective for children aged 5 to 15.

This followed an extensive review of the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccine in this age group.

The vaccine continues to be closely monitored.

Common side effects

Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Most side effects are mild and should only last 1 or 2 days, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • mild flu-like symptoms

Children should rest and you can give them paracetamol to help make them feel better.

Find out more about:

Very rare side effects

There have been extremely rare reports of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) after COVID-19 vaccination. Most people who had this recovered following rest and simple treatments.

Immediate action required: Go to A&E or call 999 if:

Your child has any of these symptoms within a few days of being vaccinated:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)

Page last reviewed: 24 October 2022
Next review due: 24 April 2023