COVID Vaccines for Children Under 5: The Next Right Thing
Last month, the FDA and CDC approved and recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of five. This is wonderful news! Many parents have been waiting for this for months. At my office, we had a flurry of calls the first day and have spent the last week vaccinating some of our youngest patients. Some parents have questions or concerns about immunizing their young children. As a mom, I completely understand. We always want to do the right thing for our kids and making this decision can seem complicated given all the information out there. Let me share some of my experiences.
The idea that young children do not get sick from COVID-19 is wrong. In a single weekend, I admitted two healthy children (under the age of 5) to the hospital for complications from a COVID-19 infection. One of those children had myocarditis. While it is true that the majority of infected children will do fine, it is wrong to think that all healthy children will avoid serious complications.
Millions of children around the world have been vaccinated for COVID over the last 15 months. Over 12 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally—more than any other vaccination campaign in history. The safety profile continues to be impressive and reassuring. We have administered thousands of vaccines in our office and have seen minimal side effects. The vaccine is safe. Many parents ask me about long-term side effects. This is understandable. While there is no way to give them an absolute guarantee, 99.9% of side effects show up in the first three months after first use…during early testing and observation, well before it is approved for the public. The mRNA used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, only remains in the body for three days. After that time, our body’s own immune system does the rest.
If you have concerns, talk with a pediatric healthcare provider. We are here for support and guidance. Always remember, we don’t recommend anything that we don’t do for our own kids.