Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine for Your Pre-Teen or Teen


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Voice & Viewpoint Staff

Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can:

  • Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Get sick from COVID-19.
  • Spread COVID-19 to others.

The CDC has recommended that everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19, to stop the pandemic’s spread and to get your family one step closer to enjoying the activities you miss. Children 12 years and older are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

Find a Vaccination Site

  • Check your local pharmacy’s website.
  • Check with your child’s healthcare provider.
  • Search, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.
  • Contact the CA state or local city or county health department.
  • Visit,
  • Visit the County’s website:

Key information

All eligible minors may visit a vaccination site without an appointment and without bringing any documentation (photo ID and proof of age) IF a parent, legal guardian, or relative caregiver is with them at the site.

Unaccompanied minors require an appointment AND their parent or legal guardian will need to complete the Consent Form for Minors to provide advance consent. Parental consent is required for all eligible minors to be vaccinated. Visit for the appropriate forms.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine:

  • Is safe and effective.
  • Has been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents.
  • Needs a second shot to be administered 3 weeks after the first shot.
  • Won’t give your child COVID-19 (nor will any COVID-19 vaccine)
  • Can be given with other vaccines at the same visit or without waiting 14 days between vaccines.

Prepare for the visit

  • Bring appropriate identification and proof of eligibility.
  • Both you and your child will need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth and practice safe social distancing.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about your child’s allergies.
    • Be ready to support your preteen or teen during and after vaccination.
    • Be honest. Yes, shots can pinch or sting, but won’t hurt for long.
    • Remind them that vaccines can keep them healthy.
    • Tell a funny story, or point out interesting things in the room to help create distractions.
    • Take deep breaths with your child to help “blow out” any pain or nervousness.
    • Ensure your child is seated for 15 – 30 minutes after the shot to prevent fainting (common among adolescents) or adverse vaccine reactions.
    • Pay extra attention to your child for a few days. If you see something that concerns you, call your child’s doctor.

Collect the vaccination card you should receive at your appointment. It tells you the date, location and type of COVID-19 vaccine your child received. Keep it in a safe place for future use. Consider taking a picture of the card as a backup copy. If you do not receive a COVID-19 vaccination card, contact your vaccination provider site or the state or San Diego County health department.

After the shot

2 Weeks to Full Vaccination Status

  • Your child is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after his or her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech. Keep masking and social distancing until then.
  • After your child is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, he or she may be able to start doing some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

Normal signs your child’s body is building protection:

On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling




Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea


To reduce pain, discomfort or fever:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
  • Use or exercise your arm.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Dress lightly.



These side effects should go away in a few days.

The COVID-19 Vaccine is Free

You will not be charged for a COVID-19 vaccine, administration fees, copays, coinsurance, or the balance of the bill after appropriate reimbursement.

Scam Alert: If anyone asks you to pay for access to the vaccine, it’s a scam. Don’t share your personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising access to the vaccine for an extra fee.