COVID-19 vaccines

Most systemic reactions among children reported in a US CDC survey are mild

Lorenz Pasion

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Most systemic reactions among children reported in a US CDC survey are mild
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says that irritability and crying are the most frequent systemic reactions experienced by children aged 6 months to 2 years

Claim: More than half of the children surveyed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) had a systemic reaction after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 


Why we fact-checked this: The post containing the claim has over 1,100 reactions, 835 comments, and 10,000 views on Facebook, as of writing.

Taken out of context: According to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published on September 2, 2022, systemic reactions were reported for “2,649 (55.8%) children aged 6 months–2 years.”

  • However, the report also said that “systemic reactions are expected after vaccination” and “serious adverse events are rare.

Most systemic reactions are mild: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a report in June 2022 that said the following systemic reactions are most common:

  • Irritability and decrease/loss of appetite are commonly reported in clinical trial participants aged 6 months to 3 years (36 months) who received Moderna vaccines, and in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients, aged 6 months to 23 months.
  • Fever is commonly reported in participants who received Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines 
  • Sleepiness is reported in those who received Moderna vaccines.

What are systemic reactions? According to the US CDC and the American Family Physician (AFP), systemic reactions are a type of vaccine side effect. Both the US CDC and the AFP said that there are two types of side effects:

  • Local reactions: Occur where the shot is given and include reactions like injections site pain, swelling, and redness.
  • Systemic reactions: These include reactions like fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, irritability, rash, and drowsiness. 

 – Lorenz Pasion/

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Lorenz Pasion

Lorenz Pasion is a researcher at Rappler and a member of its fact-check team that debunks false claims that spread on social media.