COVID-19 vaccine: No side effects in most children – Maccabi

Maccabi Health Services reported that most children did not have symptoms after the shots. No myocarditis cases registered.

 Children aged 5-11 receive their first first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, at Maccabi vaccination center in Katsrin, Golan Heights, on November 24, 2021.  (photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)
Children aged 5-11 receive their first first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, at Maccabi vaccination center in Katsrin, Golan Heights, on November 24, 2021.
(photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)

Most children ages five to 11 did not experience side effects after receiving the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, and among those who did, 1%-2% sought medical help, a report by Maccabi Healthcare Services showed Tuesday.

Maccabi is the second-largest health fund in Israel, with 2.5 million members. Around 85,000 children among its members have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the report, similar to what happened with other age groups, five- to 11-year-olds experienced more side effects after the second dose than from the first dose.

Younger children had fewer side effects than older children did, the study showed.

Among children ages five and six, 83% did not report any symptoms after the first dose, nor did 73% after the second shot. For the cohort of seven- to eight-year-olds, the rates were 81% and 71%. For nine- to 11-year-olds, they were 75% and 63%.

The Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)The Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Of those who reported symptoms, about 70% experienced local side effects in the area of the injection after both shots, while one-fifth had general issues, such as fatigue, headaches and similar symptoms following the first vaccine, and one-third had them following the second jab.

In addition, around 1% of those inoculated sought medical help after the first dose, and 2% did after the second dose.

For 11-year-olds, more than 25% missed school after the second shot.

No cases of post-vaccination myocarditis were registered among Maccabi members ages five to 11.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can be caused by a viral infection, including COVID. It also appears as a reaction to some medications. It has been identified as a rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine, especially among young men.

Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control published data showing that the Pfizer vaccine caused mostly mild side effects in children ages five to 11. About 8.7 million children from that age group had been inoculated in the US by then.

The data showed that after the second dose of the vaccine, some children reported injection-site pain and other systemic reactions, such as fatigue and headaches.

The CDC said it also received reports of 11 cases of myocarditis in five- to 11-year-olds who had received the vaccine. Seven of them had recovered, and four were recovering at the time of the report.

Reuters contributed to this report.