The Medical Minute: Questions answered about COVID vaccines for babies, toddlers

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June 22, 2022Penn State Well being Information

For the final – and littlest – phase of the inhabitants but to obtain it, the COVID-19 vaccine is federally accredited and obtainable for all folks 6 months of age and older.

After hospitalizations amongst youthful youngsters soared with the omicron variant final winter, the information ought to have dad and mom cooing with pleasure, however understandably, additionally they have questions.

Listed below are solutions from an expert who’s additionally a mum or dad – Dr. Jessica Ericson, pediatric infectious illness doctor at Penn State Well being Youngsters’s Hospital.

“The vaccine provides the large advantage of defending youngsters towards severe problems and demise from COVID, and it has the long run profit of coaching a baby’s immune system to take care of COVID,” Ericson stated. “That’s how we go from a pandemic to an endemic stage, the place COVID turns into a lot much less worrisome.”

It’s additionally one other step towards normalcy, the place dad and mom don’t have to fret a lot about play dates, sleepovers or sending youngsters to high school or day care.

Placing on her “mother” cap, Ericson stated her 6-year-old youngster’s vaccination has already turn out to be useful. When her 3-year-old examined constructive for COVID from a day care publicity, the outcome didn’t preserve the older youngster at dwelling.

Nonetheless, it’s estimated solely 30% of kids ages 5 to 11 have been vaccinated since Pfizer photographs have been accredited final fall, and Ericson expects the identical utilization charge for the youthful group. “A mum or dad who doesn’t need to vaccinate is a mum or dad who doesn’t need to vaccinate, whatever the age, I might guess,” she stated.

That’s why she desires to handle among the commonest issues.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine secure for infants and toddlers?

“Sure. Vaccines work very equally no matter age, and these vaccines have been given to tens of millions of individuals over the previous 18 months and are fairly secure,” Ericson stated. “Dad and mom ought to know that the latest approval for younger youngsters is predicated on the end result of scientific trials in particular age teams from 6 months to 23 months of age, ages 2 to five and ages 6 to 11.”

Not many youngsters die from COVID, and plenty of youngsters have solely gentle signs. Why vaccinate?

“I feel we get distracted by specializing in demise charges. There are lots of methods a baby’s physique and life may be disrupted in the event that they get COVID,” Ericson stated. “Youthful youngsters are at greater threat of problems as a result of their respiration tubes are smaller and might extra simply develop into clogged with phlegm. Youthful youngsters’s immune methods aren’t as strong both.”

There’s additionally no approach to know for certain whether or not or not your youngster would be the one to get very sick.

Youngsters who get COVID threat getting lengthy COVID, which carries its personal set of bodily signs, in addition to long-term psychological well being points akin to anxiousness and melancholy, she added.

Will my youngster endure from unwanted side effects of the vaccine?

The unwanted side effects are just like any vaccine – fever, sore arm, swollen lymph nodes that final a day or so. Youthful youngsters are likely to have fewer unwanted side effects than older youngsters, Ericson stated.

Which vaccine is greatest for my youngster? Pfizer or Moderna?

It’s private choice, Ericson stated. Pfizer’s vaccine for kids underneath age 5 is one-tenth of the grownup dose, and three photographs are wanted. The primary two are given three weeks aside, and the final is given not less than two months later. The Moderna vaccine consists of two photographs, every 1 / 4 of its grownup dose, given about 4 weeks aside for youths underneath 6. (A 3rd Meals and Drug Administration-approved dose could also be given not less than a month after the second shot for kids with compromising immune situations.)

“Some dad and mom might prioritize gaining immunity faster and select Moderna, which supplies safety after six weeks, versus about 12 weeks for Pfizer,” Ericson stated. “Different dad and mom will select Pfizer as a result of unwanted side effects are fewer or they really feel extra comfy since Pfizer vaccines are already being utilized in youngsters as younger as 5.”

I’ve heard the vaccine is barely about 50% efficient, so why hassle?

“The vaccine does a very good job of stopping severe sickness and it makes your youngster much less contagious for a shorter time frame,” Ericson stated. “We’d all love a vaccine that’s 100% efficient, however a vaccine that forestalls 50% of infections and practically 100% of extreme sicknesses and deaths is a vaccine price getting.”

When COVID started, it was thought that youngsters weren’t main spreaders, however that’s lengthy been confirmed unfaithful.

“Youngsters positively deliver COVID dwelling to the household and unfold it after they exit,” she stated. “One of the best ways to disrupt that chain is vaccination. If we will cease even 50% of transmissions, our case numbers will plummet.”

Associated content material:

The Medical Minute is a weekly well being information characteristic produced by Penn State Well being. Articles characteristic the experience of school, physicians and workers, and are designed to supply well timed, related well being info of curiosity to a broad viewers.

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