Coronavirus-19 Vaccination for Children
Yesterday, the food and drug administration authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for those 12 years and older. We hope the following information is helpful for you in evaluating the COVID-19 vaccine for your child.
It is important for public health. The fastest and best way to get out of this pandemic is with vaccination. Recently, children have become a bigger portion of COVID-19 cases, reaching more than 22% of cases last week. While children continue to show limited severity and spreadability, they remain a part of the spread of this disease. You are protecting others by getting vaccinated.
It is safe. While this vaccine was produced and approved quickly, no shortcuts were taken. It still went through the same rigorous trials that all vaccines go through. Modern vaccines are scrutinized now more than ever. Reporting adverse events is easier and more robust than ever through electronic resources like VSafe. With more than 245 million total doses given in the United States alone, the safety profile continues to grow.
It is effective. The COVID-19 vaccinations available virtually eradicate severe disease. Results show a more robust immune response in older children than adults. For the Pfizer vaccine, over 2000 children were studied aged 12-15. There were no symptomatic COVID-19 cases in the group of 12-15 year olds that were studied, 18 positive cases in the control group. The Moderna vaccine has shown similar safety and efficacy data (more than 3000 doses). It is estimated that you are 1000x more likely to have COVID if you are unvaccinated. Being vaccinated not only limits your chance of getting COVID, but also the severity of disease.
It is good for your personal health. In an unpredictable way, COVID-19 has led to more severe problems in an extremely small number of children- in the United States 300+ deaths and more than 3000 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Around 1% of children who are diagnosed with COVID require hospitalization. The long term risk of COVID-19 infection remains unknown. More problematic for children and parents have been the disruptions to daily life because of contacts or symptoms suspicious for COVID. Like vaccinated adults, it is expected that children who are vaccinated will be able to return to a more normal life.
The logistics of vaccinating a large number of individuals remains challenging. While supply is now better than demand, it is still prudent to think of the vaccine as a limited resource. Large scale vaccination efforts are best at minimizing wasted vaccines. Our office is actively working with local and regional healthy agencies to best vaccinate children.