If you’re agonizing about whether to have your young child vaccinated against Covid-19, be reassured: The risk is extremely low either way. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 42% of U.S. children 5 to 11 had Covid by June 2021, before the Delta wave—a prevalence that is likely greater than 50% today. Of 28 million children in that age range, 94 have died of Covid since the pandemic began (including deaths before newer treatments), and 562 have been hospitalized with Covid infections.
Serious complications are so uncommon in this age range that of 2,186 children in the Pfizer vaccine study, no child in either the vaccine or placebo group developed severe illness from Covid. Sixteen of the 663 unvaccinated children developed Covid infections, compared with only three of the 1,305 vaccinated ones—an effectiveness rate of 90.7% against infection. Thus it’s safe to assume that vaccinating a healthy child would take his extremely low risk of serious disease and drive it down even lower.