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Is the COVID vaccine a shot, a vaccination or an immunization?

Should it be called a shot, a vaccine, an immunization?

GREENSBORO, N.C. — 2 Wants To Know is answering your COVID-related questions.

Melanie writes:
“Why is the COVID shot being called a vaccination? A vaccination shouldn't require multiple doses or booster shots. Think of the polio vaccination vs. A flu shot. Isn't this confusing for the public?”

The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines vaccines as:  
Injections (shots), liquids, pills, or nasal sprays that you take to teach your body's immune system to recognize and defend against harmful germs like a virus that causes flu and COVID or bacteria like Tetanus, Diptheria, or Pertussis.

As for vaccines shouldn't require multiple shots, let's go to the CDC. On their website is a chart for all vaccines for kids 7 to 18 years. The flu shot, which is called a flu vaccine, should be taken every year.
The Tdap vaccine is just once in this time span, the HPV vaccine can be a two-shot or three-shot series. So, vaccines can be once in a lifetime, every year, or just 2 or three times in your lifetime.

It can be confusing, but to sum it all up the U.S. Library of Medicine clarifies it this way: Immunization is the process of becoming protected against a disease. But it can also mean the same thing as vaccination, which is getting a vaccine to become protected against a disease.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for kids?

Doctors said Pfizer's vaccine for kids 5-11 is both safe and effective. A Center for Disease Control study found every million doses given to children in this age group would prevent 58,204 cases and 226 hospitalizations.

Dr. Sara Oliver with the CDC said the vaccine passed every test it needed to before getting approved.

"The clinical trial demonstrated the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe, immunogenic, and efficacious in children 5-11 years of age," Dr. Oliver said.

What side effects do kids experience?

Children who participated in the trial experienced similar side effects to adults. Most of their symptoms were mild.

The Food and Drug Administration says some of the most common side effects included headaches, pain at the injection site, muscle aches and fatigue. It also said no children had serious reactions during the trial.

Some studies suggested children were less likely to experience side effects than those older than 12. FDA data support this.

Data show 39.4% of kids 5-11 experienced fatigue after their second shot. 65.6% of people 16-25 had fatigue. More than twice as many people from the older group had headaches after their second shot.

Dr. Daniel Denner from Novant Health said the smaller dose could be the cause.

"They are less likely to have those startup side effects -- feeling tired, having fevers, just not feeling well in general -- for that 2-3 day period after the shot," Denner said.