COVID-19 Update

nurse giving young girl vaccine

Latest News About the COVID-19 Vaccines

Updated as of May 12, 2021

  • All individuals ages 12 years and older are currently eligible for the Pfizer vaccine in Georgia.
  • The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine formulation currently authorized for adolescents ages 12 to 17 years old.
  • You do not need a letter or documentation verifying your child’s condition. All Georgians ages 12 years and older are eligible.
  • The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s requests that if your child has received chemotherapy in the past six months or has had a bone marrow transplant (BMT) in the past two years, you should talk to your child's doctor before scheduling a vaccination appointment.

Q&A with Drs. Andi Shane and Evan Anderson

Reminder: For individuals ages 12 through 17 years old who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved for these ages. The Georgia Department of Public Health recommends scheduling an appointment at CVS or Walgreens, or at one of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) mass vaccination sites where the Pfizer vaccine is available.

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 years old.

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. We will update this page with the latest information as it becomes available

Children's continues to follow the guidance of the Georgia Department of Public Health on 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 Resources

No. The Georgia Department of Public Health asks screening questions on vaccine registration sites to verify your child's condition, but they are not asking individuals to provide verification letters from Children's or other healthcare providers.

The locations and availability of COVID-19 vaccines are constantly changing as supplies and recommendations change. Refer to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) website for the most up-to-date list of vaccine locations. 

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.

As we get more data on how well the vaccines work, we will learn more about how long immunity by vaccination lasts.

There is no cost associated with receiving a COVID-19 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. Research and science so far show that the two COVID-19 vaccines currently available are very safe and remarkably effective.

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.

A single dose vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is based on the genetic message stored in double-stranded DNA that is then added to another cold virus, adenovirus. Adenovirus 26 is modified so it cannot cause illness but can deliver the message to make antibodies to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Adenovirus-based vaccines for COVID-19 are less fragile than mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The protein coat of the adenovirus helps to protect the genetic message inside, enabling it to be stored for up to three months in a refrigerator. 

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 having to actually 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.

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.

The manufacturers of the PfizerModerna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have published the ingredient lists for their vaccines.

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, including variants containing the mutation (N501Y) found in the rapidly spreading strains originating in the U.K. and South Africa. 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.

No. The COVID-19 vaccines deliver messages to help your body make antibodies so that it is prepared to have an immune response if the SARS-CoV-2 virus is encountered.

COVID-19 vaccines don't permanently change our genome or who we are in any way, except to help us build immunity to COVID-19.

All patients, visitors and staff 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.

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.

There are ongoing efforts to collect data on how pregnant women have responded and how their infants are doing after their mothers received COVID vaccines. Information monitored by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration has not revealed any trends or concerns.

More than 20,000 pregnant women, mostly health care workers or women enrolled in vaccine trials who later found out they were pregnant, have received COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. Additionally, animal studies have not demonstrated any harmful effects from the vaccine, nor is there any evidence that receiving COVID-19 vaccines affects fertility.

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.

Older children who have been vaccinated have experience similar side effects as those experience 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. 

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.

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 vaccine is 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 to children.