One in 2,500 children with vaccine reports suspected side effect

Most are mild to moderate and many had resolved or were resolving when reported

About one in every 2,500 children who has so far received a Covid-19 vaccine has reported a suspected side effect, according to the latest safety update.

A total of 269 reports of suspected side effects have been made after administration of the Pfizer vaccine, the Health Protection Regulatory Authority (HPRA) said on Thursday. This related to the delivery of 659,000 doses to under-18s up to January 11th.

Seven of the reports related to a child – general vaccination of five-to 11-year-olds only began this month – and the rest related to adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.

Overall, the authority says, the reports received are consistent with the types of reports received for adults, with most being mild to moderate in nature. Many had resolved or were resolving at the time of reporting, it said.


The most commonly reported side effect among children (257 reports) was general symptoms and local reactions such as tiredness, weakness, chest pain and feeling hot. Other significant categories were nervous system issues such dizziness, headache, fainting or feeling faint (189) and gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain (112).

Overall, the HPRA has received a total of 18,108 reports of side effects, relating to more than 10.1 million administered vaccines and boosters – equivalent to one report for every 560 doses.

By January 11th, 672 reports of suspected side effects following either a third or booster dose had been received, relating to almost 1.5 million doses administered – roughly equivalent to one report per 2,200 doses.

About 40 per cent of suspected side effects had resolved or were resolving at the time of reporting.


The authority says it has received 703 reports of paraesthesia – pins and needles or a crawling feeling in the skin – mostly in adults. It was reporting on this condition for the first time, after the European Medicines Agency added it as a potential rare side effect of the Moderna vaccines, affecting about one in 1,000 vaccinated people.

It has also received 109 reports of myocarditis/pericarditis and 10 reports of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)

A "small number" of reports of transverse myelitis – inflammation to the spinal cord – have been reported following vaccination with AstraZeneca or Janssen. There have been 13 reports of anaphalaxis following a Pfizer/Moderna vaccine and a "small number" after AstraZeneca/Janssen.

In 101 reports, the person was vaccinated and subsequently died. The median age of this group was 81 years.

“Reports describing a death are carefully reviewed. However, it can be expected that fatalities due to progression of underlying disease or natural causes will continue to occur, including following vaccination. This does not mean that the vaccine caused the deaths.”

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.