New COVID-19 vaccine safety data from AusVaxSafety have shown children aged 5-11 years are reporting fewer side effects following vaccination than older Australians. The most commonly reported side effects among children aged 5-11 years following dose 1 Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine include local reaction (pain at injection site, swelling, redness and itching), headache and fatigue. These common adverse events are linked to the immune response following immunisation, are expected to occur and are generally mild and short-lived, with the overwhelming majority of recipients recovering within 3 days.
These new safety data have been released as part of the ongoing AusVaxSafety COVID-19 vaccine surveillance program. The eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccination had been recently changed in Australia to allow children aged 5-11 years receive the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
AusVaxSafety has received more than 20,000 completed day 3 safety surveys from parents and carers of children aged 5-11 years who received dose 1 of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Data analysed to date are reassuring, with the rate of adverse events reported in 5-11 year olds lower than that for the rest of the population following dose 1 of the Pfizer vaccine, suggesting the vaccine is well tolerated.
In the days following vaccination, children aged 5-11 years were also far less likely to visit a doctor or emergency department, with medical attendance rates following dose 1 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine similar to those for other childhood immunisations.
As COVID-19 vaccination in children aged 5-11 years only commenced on Monday 10 January 2022 and the recommended dose interval is 8 weeks, only dose 1 data are currently available. These data will be updated weekly and dose 2 data will be added when available.