By Valerie Borum Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP
Valerie Borum Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP, is a pediatrician at St. Paul Youngsters’s Providers in Tyler, Texas, and is a member of the Texas Medical Affiliation COVID-19 taskforce.
Excellent news for folks—youngsters who’re 12 years and older can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, and it couldn’t come at a greater time. Whereas youngsters are much less more likely to develop extreme sickness from COVID-19, they’re nonetheless in danger. Households deserve the possibility to get again to an energetic life with out the fixed worries. The vaccine is one of the best shot at a traditional life, shielded from Covid.
Which COVID-19 vaccines can youngsters get?
Whereas adults have a number of choices, Pfizer-BioNTech is at present the one possibility obtainable for youngsters. To be efficient, this vaccine is given in two doses which might be given three weeks (21 days) aside. Most safety is achieved two weeks after receiving the second shot.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine secure for youngsters?
Sure. The vaccine was developed utilizing science that has been round for many years, and it obtained emergency authorization from the Meals and Drug Administration. The Pfizer vaccine was examined and monitored for security and effectiveness in youngsters 12 and older, simply because it was examined for adults. Greater than seven million youngsters underneath 17 have obtained the vaccine in the US.
Can youngsters get the virus from the vaccine?
No. The vaccine doesn’t comprise the dwell virus, so your youngster can’t get Covid from the vaccine.
Why are pediatricians recommending youngsters get the vaccine?
Our function as pediatricians is to maintain sufferers secure and wholesome, and to permit them to get again to these actions they need to be doing. When dad and mom ask me if they need to get their youngsters vaccinated for COVID-19, I like to recommend they do. I’d by no means suggest one thing I wouldn’t suggest for my very own youngster, a member of the family, or a cherished one.
Another excuse for getting the vaccine is that youngsters can unfold the virus to others. There may very well be members of the family, mates, lecturers, classmates, or others who’ve a well being situation that places them at larger threat of getting Covid and going through critical penalties. The vaccine helps forestall the unfold of Covid to everybody round them.
Good to Know:
Pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Division of State Well being Providers (DSHS) all suggest that youngsters get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Greater than 4 million youngsters in the US have examined optimistic for the virus because the begin of the pandemic, in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and greater than 300 have died.
When and the way was the vaccine examined?
The Pfizer research with youngsters started in March 2021. The research enrolled 2,260 contributors ages 12 to 15. Of these youngsters, 1,131 obtained the vaccine (two photographs, given three weeks aside) and 1,129 obtained saline placebo photographs. The research discovered the vaccine labored even higher for youngsters than it did for adults. No youngsters within the vaccine group bought sick with COVID-19, whereas 18 youngsters within the placebo group grew to become in poor health.
Moderna just lately launched the outcomes of its take a look at of the vaccine in 3,732 individuals ages 12 to 17. Two-thirds obtained two vaccine doses, and there have been no instances of symptomatic COVID-19 in absolutely vaccinated adolescents. Greater than 160 million individuals have been absolutely vaccinated, together with greater than seven million 12 to 17 year-old adolescents. The CDC continues to observe for unwanted effects.
Tip: When dad and mom ask me if they need to get their youngsters vaccinated for COVID-19, I like to recommend they do. I’d by no means suggest one thing I wouldn’t suggest for my very own family members. I’ve three youngsters, and we have been in line the primary Saturday we may get them vaccinated. The truth that they’re absolutely vaccinated actually does give me nice consolation and has allowed us to have a summer season crammed with trip, mates, and household.
Did they rush the testing to get the vaccine authorised rapidly?
No. Researchers have been learning and dealing with mRNA vaccines for many years. This contains research for the vaccines for the flu, Zika, and rabies. All of that work made it potential for scientists to create the COVID-19 vaccine. As soon as crucial details about the Covid virus was obtainable, scientists started designing the precise mRNA directions that might be efficient towards the that virus.
Does the vaccine change your DNA (genetic materials)?
No. The Covid mRNA vaccine doesn’t have an effect on or work together with DNA (genetic materials) in any manner. It by no means enters the nucleus of the cell, which is the place our DNA is stored.
What info is offered in regards to the long-term results of the vaccine?
The long-term results should not identified for youngsters or adults right now. The long-term results of getting Covid should not identified both. Nonetheless, analysis has proven that some youngsters who’ve recovered from a gentle case of Covid might have long-term irritation within the coronary heart and lungs.
What are the short-term unwanted effects in youngsters who’ve gotten the vaccine?
Some youngsters have skilled ache on the injection web site, fever, chills, tiredness, headache, and joint and muscle ache. These usually lasted one to 3 days. On the whole, the dangers from getting COVID-19 appear to be a lot larger than the dangers of getting the vaccine.
Ought to my youngster get the vaccine if they’ve allergic reactions?
In case your youngster has a historical past of extreme allergic response to any ingredient within the vaccine (reminiscent of polyethylene glycol), they need to not get the vaccine. It is very important speak to your pediatrician in regards to the vaccine, particularly in case your youngster has a historical past of allergic reactions.
The place can I get my youngster vaccinated?
Vaccines are being given at pediatrician workplaces and at pharmacies. You should definitely test prematurely if you happen to want an appointment or if walk-in choices can be found. You may also go to covidvaccine.texas.gov or name 1-833-832-7067 to discover a vaccine close to you.
How a lot does it value, and do I would like insurance coverage?
The vaccine is free for everybody. You and your youngster don’t want insurance coverage to get a vaccine.
When will youthful youngsters be capable of get the vaccine?
Youngsters 5 to 11 are anticipated to obtain approval to get the vaccine within the winter. Youngsters even youthful will probably be capable of get the vaccine in early 2022. As we see extra contagious variants of COVID-19, such because the Delta variant, we are going to probably see extra unvaccinated individuals change into in poor health, together with younger youngsters. Whereas fortunately most younger youngsters get better effectively from COVID-19, there are some that develop life-threatening problems reminiscent of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). They will additionally unfold COVID-19 to extra susceptible household and group members.
Can my youngster get the COVID-19 vaccine and different vaccines on the similar time?
Sure, the Covid vaccine will be given with different childhood immunizations. In case your youngster is behind on HPV, meningococcal, and different really useful vaccines, now is an efficient time to catch up and get all the required vaccines with the Covid shot.
How ought to I make one of the best resolution for my household on the getting the vaccine?
As with all medical concern, speak to your youngster’s pediatrician or well being care supplier. They may have one of the best info relating to your youngster’s medical historical past and might make a advice based mostly on info particular to your youngster and household state of affairs