Statement from Pediatric Cardiology @ JPCH
After careful review of the available evidence and in discussion with our Pediatric Cardiology and Pediatric Infectious Disease colleagues across Western Canada regarding the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old, we have come to the following recommendations that are in alignment with the Health Canada National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations.
We recommend that a complete series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (10 mcg) may be offered to children 5-11 years of age who do not have contraindications to the vaccine, with a dosing interval of at least 8 weeks between first and second dose.
There are no patients with congenital heart disease who are contraindicated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The only Pediatric Cardiology patients who should further discuss getting the vaccine with our team are patients with a previous history of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) or heart transplantation.
Some parents, families and/or care-givers have already been asking us the following questions:
What is the risk of myocarditis with the COVID-19 vaccine?
In patients who are 12 years old or older who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, there is a rare (1 in 10,000) side effect of myocarditis. However, children are more likely to get sicker with COVID-19 infection, which can also cause myocarditis and a serious multi-organ inflammatory response in children. Luckily the vast majority of the children who have developed myocarditis after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine have had mild cases, have not required hospitalization and have shown complete recovery with little treatment needed. So far the experience with this Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children 5-11 years old in the USA has shown a lower rate of myocarditis secondary to the COVID-19 vaccine than in children 12 years old and older.
When should my child have their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The studies that Pfizer performed and submitted to get Health Canada approval in children 5-11 years of age administered the first and second doses of vaccine three weeks apart. However, there is new evidence suggesting that administering the first and second doses 8 weeks apart at any age, offers better immune response and longer immunity to COVID-19. So, we and the NACI, are recommending your child get their second dose after 8 weeks.
What side effects should I worry about after my child has their COVID-19 vaccine?
Mild side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are common and expected. These include arm pain, redness at the injection site, swelling at the injection site and fever and they can be managed at home. If children develop any symptoms of myocarditis including chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations, you should seek further medical attention.
Can my child have other vaccines before or after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine?
It is recommended that children getting the COVID-19 vaccine should not get any other routine childhood vaccines for at least 14 days before and 14 days after their COVID-19 vaccine doses. This is a precaution to help determine if any side effects that may arise are due to the COVID-19 vaccine or the other vaccine.
If you would like to read more information about the NACI recommendations we recommend the following link:
We will continue to monitor evidence and information as it becomes available about the COVID-19 vaccine and keep you updated.
We are here to support you in the decision making process, so that you can make an informed decision about COVID-19 vaccination for your family. So, if we can help answer any further questions, please feel free to contact us (306) 844-1235.
Your Pediatric Cardiology Team (Drs. Pockett, Pharis, Bradley and Sekhon)