Separating Fact from Fiction: Kids and COVID Vaccines
It is exciting news that children ages 5-11 are now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine!
At every phase of the vaccine rollout so far, careful research with volunteers has checked to make sure that the vaccine is effective and safe before giving it to millions. And every time, the vaccine has held true. We expect the same now.
A young child’s vaccine dose is 1/3 of the adult dose, just like there is a children’s version of Tylenol. The vaccine works very well to prevent severe illness and death, reduce the risk of “long COVID” complications, lower COVID spread to family members and others in the community, and help stop other COVID variants from emerging.
Side effect rates have been similar to what we have seen in other age groups—including fatigue or headache for 1-2 days. One area of concern is heart inflammation, called myocarditis. Developing myocarditis was a very rare problem for some who received the higher dose; thankfully, they all recovered. Remember that COVID itself is much more likely to cause myocarditis than the vaccine. In the end, the pediatricians who analyzed all the safety data unanimously recommended getting your 5-11 year old vaccinated as the safest decision.
I watched a jumbo airplane lift off the ground recently and marveled at accomplishment of flight: human scientific genius! Vaccination is no less amazing. It has been our proven path out of many previous epidemics—from smallpox to polio to measles. Like vaccines, there are many safety checks on air travel, but who would argue that airplanes are a bad thing? Doctors are standing behind these vaccines because we know what vaccines can do.
Two things are happening right now as vaccines roll out. #1 is undermined confidence in experts. COVID is still very new, and experts are learning as we go. Sometimes new information forces changes in recommendations, but it’s our job to be honest and humble. #2 is the spread of information that is not accurate. Sharing information is valuable and sometimes helpful, but it’s important to filter out what is false or exaggerated. Your child’s doctor can help.
Continued myths include whether the vaccine causes death, infertility, or alters your DNA. None of these are true, but it is hard to dispel a rumor. It can be scary and confusing as a parent or guardian. Your child’s doctor here at Pentucket Medical wants to answer your questions. Please reach out to us via our Gateway portal or call us on the phone—we are here for you