OPINION: Why Children Need the COVID-19 Vaccine


Valerie Smith headshot

By Valerie Borum Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP

Valerie Borum Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP, is a pediatrician at St. Paul Youngsters’s Companies in Tyler, Texas, and is a member of the Texas Medical Affiliation COVID-19 taskforce.

Excellent news for fogeys—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 prone 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 the perfect shot at a standard life, shielded from Covid.


Which COVID-19 vaccines can youngsters get?

Whereas adults have a number of choices, Pfizer-BioNTech is presently the one choice out there for kids. 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 kids?

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 beneath 17 have obtained the vaccine in america.


Can youngsters get the virus from the vaccine?

No. The vaccine doesn’t comprise the dwell virus, so your little one 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 mother and father ask me if they need to get their youngsters vaccinated for COVID-19, I like to recommend they do. I’d by no means advocate one thing I wouldn’t advocate for my very own little one, a member of the family, or a beloved one.


One more reason for getting the vaccine is that youngsters can unfold the virus to others. There may very well be members of the family, buddies, lecturers, classmates, or others who’ve a well being situation that places them at higher danger of getting Covid and dealing with 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 Companies (DSHS) all advocate that youngsters get the COVID-19 vaccine.


Greater than 4 million youngsters in america have examined optimistic for the virus for the reason that begin of the pandemic, in keeping 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 members ages 12 to fifteen. 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 kids than it did for adults. No youngsters within the vaccine group obtained sick with COVID-19, whereas 18 youngsters within the placebo group grew to become sick.


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 circumstances of symptomatic COVID-19 in totally vaccinated adolescents. Greater than 160 million individuals have been totally vaccinated, together with greater than seven million 12 to 17 year-old adolescents. The CDC continues to observe for uncomfortable side effects.



Tip: When mother and father ask me if they need to get their youngsters vaccinated for COVID-19, I like to recommend they do. I’d by no means advocate one thing I wouldn’t advocate for my very own family members. I’ve three youngsters, and we had been in line the primary Saturday we may get them vaccinated. The truth that they’re totally vaccinated actually does give me nice consolation and has allowed us to have a summer time crammed with trip, buddies, and household.


Did they rush the testing to get the vaccine permitted shortly?

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 mandatory details about the Covid virus was out there, scientists started designing the precise mRNA directions that may be efficient in opposition to 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 approach. It by no means enters the nucleus of the cell, which is the place our DNA is saved.


What info is obtainable concerning the long-term results of the vaccine?

The long-term results usually are not identified for kids or adults at the moment. The long-term results of getting Covid usually are not identified both. Nevertheless, analysis has proven that some youngsters who’ve recovered from a light case of Covid might have long-term irritation within the coronary heart and lungs.


What are the short-term uncomfortable side effects in youngsters who’ve gotten the vaccine?

Some youngsters have skilled ache on the injection website, fever, chills, tiredness, headache, and joint and muscle ache. These sometimes lasted one to 3 days. Typically, the dangers from getting COVID-19 appear to be a lot higher than the dangers of getting the vaccine.


Ought to my little one get the vaccine if they’ve allergic reactions?

In case your little one has a historical past of extreme allergic response to any ingredient within the vaccine (corresponding to polyethylene glycol), they need to not get the vaccine. You will need to speak to your pediatrician concerning the vaccine, particularly in case your little one has a historical past of allergic reactions.


The place can I get my little one vaccinated?

Vaccines are being given at pediatrician places of work and at pharmacies. Make sure to verify upfront 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 want insurance coverage?

The vaccine is free for everybody. You and your little one don’t want insurance coverage to get a vaccine.


When will youthful youngsters have the ability to get the vaccine?

Youngsters 5 to 11 are anticipated to obtain approval to get the vaccine within the winter. Youngsters even youthful will probably have the ability to get the vaccine in early 2022. As we see extra contagious variants of COVID-19, such because the Delta variant, we’ll probably see extra unvaccinated individuals develop into sick, together with younger youngsters. Whereas fortunately most younger youngsters get well effectively from COVID-19, there are some that develop life-threatening problems corresponding to multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). They will additionally unfold COVID-19 to extra weak household and neighborhood members.


Can my little one get the COVID-19 vaccine and different vaccines on the identical time?

Sure, the Covid vaccine could be given with different childhood immunizations. In case your little one is behind on HPV, meningococcal, and different beneficial vaccines, now is an efficient time to catch up and get all the required vaccines with the Covid shot.


How ought to I make the perfect resolution for my household on the getting the vaccine?

As with all medical concern, speak to your little one’s pediatrician or well being care supplier. They’ll have the perfect info concerning your little one’s medical historical past and may make a suggestion primarily based on info particular to your little one and household state of affairs


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