COVID-19 Updates

nurse giving young girl vaccine

Updated as of Aug. 30, 2021

  • The state of our community: On Aug. 19, 2021, our chief medical officer, Jim Fortenberry, MD, joined other metro Atlanta health system professionals in a press conference to share the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, including current data and the impact on our pediatric community.
  • FDA approval: On Aug. 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Vaccines for children: Clinical trials are currently being conducted for children ages 6 months to 11 years. While we do not have a timeframe at this time, we are hopeful that vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 will be authorized soon.
  • Booster shots: Pending FDA authorization and recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the goal is for individuals to begin receiving COVID-19 booster shots this fall. Individuals would be eligible for the booster starting 8 months after they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Q&A with Drs. Andi Shane and Evan Anderson

Vaccine finder

Visit the Georgia Department of Public Health's vaccine finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

Reminder: For individuals ages 12 through 17 who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for these ages. Before scheduling an appointment, make sure the location you choose offers the Pfizer vaccine.

The current Georgia COVID-19 vaccine eligibility includes all individuals ages 12 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine currently approved for children ages 12 through 17.

At Children’s, we are committed to the health and safety of our patients, their families and our staff. We know that you have many questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and when they will be available to children. Clinical trials are currently underway for children ages 6 months to 11 years. We are hopeful that vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 will be authorized soon.

Below are a few frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the CDC’s website for additional FAQs as well as myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions (en Español)

Children's continues to follow the guidance of the Georgia Department of Public Health in regards to who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We are limited by the amount of vaccines distributed to our facility by the state. Within this framework, Children's continues to proactively plan how we can facilitate vaccination of those who are eligible.

Non-Children’s Vaccine Scheduling Resource
Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccine location near you.

Currently, all patients, visitors and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask at all times while in our facilities. If you don't have a mask, we'll provide one for you as you arrive.

Click here to learn more about the CDC's guidelines for wearing masks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

There is no cost associated with receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Yes. Because there are severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and it is possible to get re-infected, vaccines are recommended even for those who have already had COVID-19.

Older children who have been vaccinated have experienced side effects similar to those experienced by adults, including arm pain or soreness, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue. Children who have participated in clinical trials have also reported similar side effects. Children may experience relief from symptoms by taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen on the day following their vaccine dose.

Severe, adverse reactions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine appear to be rare in older adolescents and young adults.

Refer to the Georgia Department of Public Health's vaccine finder for the most up-to-date list of COVID-19 vaccine locations.

Some children may experience fatigue, arm soreness and muscle aches the day after their vaccine dose. These symptoms may be relieved by taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

It is possible that your child may have some symptoms that could exclude them from school. We recommend checking with your child's school to understand their policy for school attendance by children who experience symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will develop small mutations over time. The COVID-19 vaccine trials tested the effectiveness of their vaccines against a number of variant strains of the virus. Information to date suggests current COVID-19 vaccines are still effective against the latest reported variations of the virus. In order to achieve the highest efficacy rate and maximize your protection against COVID-19, it's important to receive vaccine doses according to schedule.

It will take a couple weeks after getting a vaccine dose for your body to develop its full immune response. This means that it's still possible to contract COVID-19 during that time. It's important to continue wearing masks, using hand hygiene and practicing social distancing even after getting the vaccine.

Yes. While the COVID-19 vaccines themselves were developed quickly, the clinical trials to examine their safety and efficacy were not rushed. These vaccines underwent extensive studies that involved thousands of volunteers, and the results were carefully reviewed. Today, millions of people in the U.S. have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in the history of the U.S.

Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself from COVID-19; it's also about preventing the spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects. Widespread vaccination protects populations, including those who are most at risk and those who can't be vaccinated.

There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause problems with pregnancy. Additionally, there is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people ages 12 and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or may want to become pregnant in the future.

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines and fertility

The technology for mRNA vaccines has been around for almost two decades. Once the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus became known in early January 2020, scientists around the world began working on vaccine development, building off of previous vaccine development efforts for two other kinds of coronavirus, SARS and MERS. Unlike most other vaccines that require a bacteria or virus to be cultured or grown in the lab, mRNA vaccines are less difficult and time-consuming to develop.

Some children with underlying health conditions may experience a more severe form of COVID-19. Therefore, it is in their best interest to be vaccinated to prevent them from getting infected and having COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines are being evaluated very carefully in children to find the best dose that will provide protection while also being safe. The vaccine trials in children have tried to include children with a wide range of health conditions. Millions of adults with underlying health conditions have already been vaccinated safely.

One of the goals of clinical trials in children is to assess for rare post-infectious events, such as MIS-C. It is possible that children who have had MIS-C and recovered will be enrolled in COVID-19 clinical trials for children to help us understand the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in these children. These study designs and inclusion criteria are being developed.

The manufacturers of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have published the ingredient lists for their vaccines.

 

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are developed using technology that has been around for almost 20 years. Scientists have used this technology as part of their efforts to make vaccines effective against a number of infectious diseases.

In general, vaccines stimulate our bodies to develop an immune response against an infection without us actually having to get the disease. Different vaccines use different strategies to generate this immune response. MRNA vaccines do this by teaching our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if we are exposed to the real virus. MRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with our own DNA. Once the mRNA has provided the body the instructions to make the protein, the mRNA is degraded completely by the body. Read more about COVID-19 vaccines on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Children may receive any vaccine that is approved for their age. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children ages 12-18, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for children ages 18 and older. There is no preference for one formulation over another, and any vaccine that is available may be administered.

Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines.