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Is The Covid Vaccine Safe For Kids

Does Going Back To School Increase My Childs Risk Of Catching Or Transmitting The Coronavirus

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for kids?

The highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is a concern among those who have not been vaccinated, including children. With that in mind, the CDC has updated its recommendations for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools and recommends universal indoor masking by all students , staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status, as well as physical distancing and other precautions. Having your teen or child vaccinated as soon as he or she is eligible will help prevent infections and spread of COVID-19.

Has This Type Of Vaccine Ever Been Used In Children Before How Does It Work

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use something called mRNA technology the m stands for messenger. Think of the mRNA molecule like a set of instructions. While a traditional vaccine uses a weakened or inactivated germ to trigger an immune response in our bodies, the mRNA vaccines carry a set of instructions to teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response and produce antibodies to the virus.

Although mRNA technology has been studied for about 15 years, this is the first time its been used in a vaccine. Its also being studied to treat cancer, muscular dystrophy and other diseases.

Dr. Paul Offit, director of the vaccine education center at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the Food and Drug Administrations vaccine advisory panel, notes that while mRNA vaccines are new, mRNA molecules occur naturally throughout the human body.

Every child in their cells has about 200,000 copies of messenger RNA, said Dr. Offit. Every cell in your body has these molecules which are making proteins and enzymes so you can continue to live. Although the technology is new for a vaccine, its not like its a molecule we havent seen before. I understand the anxiety, but its no different than when you make insulin or hemoglobin or albumin or any of the other proteins your body makes.

Understand;Vaccine and Mask Mandates in the U.S.

Public Health And Medical Leaders Explore The Complexities Of Vaccinating Kids During Johns Hopkins/uw Symposium

For a generation of kids, the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as the defining event of their young livesa period marked by closures, cancellations, fear, and disruption. And while many American adults are relaxing more now as infection rates decline, the situation for children and adolescents remains uncertain. Just one vaccine is available for kids age 12 to 15, and access for younger ages is expected to take several more months. Some parents are impatient for that moment to arrive; others are concerned.

At a symposium June 30 hosted by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington, leaders in public health and medicine explored this complex terrain.

“I think I speak for many of us in saying that we know the pandemic has had truly devastating impacts on children and their families,” said Ellen MacKenzie, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “So today, our focus concerns those impacts and the role that COVID-19 vaccines play for kids, their families, and our communities.”

Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a Hopkins alum, said the conversation around young people and COVID-19 is often framed in the wrong wayimplying that the smaller proportion of child deaths from the disease means it’s less serious for children as compared to adults. “That is absolutely the wrong benchmark,” she said. “Young, healthy children are not supposed to die.”

Vaccinated parents, unvaccinated kids

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Why Will Children Aged 12 To 15 Get A Jab

Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, said it was a “difficult decision”, but absence from school “has been extraordinarily difficult for children”, particularly in deprived areas.

Extended disruption could cause mental health problems and have long term effects on life chances, he added.

Vaccinating children won’t stop the spread of Covid in schools, but should help keep cases down.

Evidence suggests a single dose cuts the risk of catching the Delta variant by about 55%. It also reduces the chances of you getting very sick or spreading it to someone else.

A second dose should not be considered before the spring term, the chief medical officers said.

Having the vaccine is not compulsory.

Prof Whitty said an “offer” of vaccination will be made to all children aged 12-15.

But he said young people and their parents needed to be supported and there should be no stigma attached to their choice.

Why Parents Should Get Their Children A Vaccine Even Though Many Children Dont Get Very Sick From Covid

Sinovac says its COVID

While its true that young children are less likely to become severely ill from COVID-19, theres still a chance.

Healthcare workers across the country have seen children of all ages get sick, be admitted, end up in the ICU, and some in rare circumstances die from the disease and its complications.

In some cases, children have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C weeks or months after initially developing COVID-19, causing long-term health issues.

Were still learning about the spectrum of COVID in kids. The risk is also increased for any children with underlying comorbidities such as asthma, diabetes, or any type of immunosuppression, Patel told Healthline.

Many experts agree that its possible to open schools to kids for in-person learning before all school-aged children are fully vaccinated. However, its important to take precautions as much as possible to reduce transmission from one child to another.

Practices such as mask wearing, distancing, and ventilation can all assist in lowering risk.

Patel reminds everyone that herd immunity can indirectly protect young children and others who are not yet vaccinated, and parents should consider the case rate and vaccination rate in their own communities when making decision for how to best protect their children against COVID-19.

Ensuring that information is from a reliable source is important in making decisions about vaccinating your child.

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Can We Expect Similar Side Effects From The Vaccines In Children

The COVID-19 vaccines have a remarkable safety profile. Theres no reason to believe that young children will react any differently than older children.

In clinical trials, children aged 12 to 17 tolerated the vaccine very well, without any severe adverse side effects reported. Even still, younger children deserve their own separate trial; younger immune systems may react differently to the vaccine, said Patel.

He pointed out that the data will be thoroughly reviewed by the CDC, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and FDA prior to the vaccines being administered to children under age 12.

There are some serious side effects, including myocarditis, reported in young adults and teens who have been vaccinated. But experts point out the risk from developing COVID-19 is far higher.

Parents should remember both myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccine administration are extremely rare events, Patel told Healthline.

The CDC reviewed the potential link between myocarditis and COVID-19 and found in 12- to 39-year-olds, heart inflammation occurred at a rate of 12.6 cases per million second doses given. The rate after the first dose was 4.4 cases per million doses administered.

Also, given how rare the cases of myocarditis/pericarditis are and the known risks from the actual virus, its not surprising the American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, and other medical groups still recommend teens get the vaccine, Patel said.

Vaccines For Children Under 12 Could Be Available By The End Of This Year But Its Taking Longer Than Expected

According to the New York Times, both Pfizer and Moderna are still testing the efficacy and safety of their vaccines for children under 12. The early predictions that vaccines for younger kids would be available come fall are looking less likely now that the FDA has deemed Pfizer and Modernas trials for children between 5 and 11 too small to account for rare side effects.

While those companies work to expand their pediatric trials, the studies for children under 5 will be pushed back, which means those vaccines likely wont be approved until 2022. A big factor thats adding to the delay is figuring out what dose will be safe but effective in smaller bodies, which will respond faster to less vaccine. The FDA is also concerned about rare side effects like heart inflammation, and theyve asked both Pfizer and Moderna to expand their trials and track an extra four months of follow-up safety data to account for those issues, further delaying approval.

Anthony Fauci, the governments leading infectious-disease specialist, has also adjusted his projections for the rest of the year, saying theres a reasonable chance children under 12 could get shots before the holidays.

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Facts About The Covid

The COVID-19 vaccines:

  • may the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • are very effective. The vaccines authorized so far by the FDA are up to 95% effective for preventing symptomatic illness from COVID-19. This is a very high level of protection.
  • do not impact fertility or menstrual cycle. Boston Children’s doctor addresses infertility worries tied to COVID-19
  • do not alter your DNA
  • appear to provide good protection for new variants against severe COVID-19 caused by the delta variant, even though research suggests they are slightly less effective overall
  • are safe for people with underlying medical conditions, as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine
  • are recommended by the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , U.S. Food and Drug Administration , American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and many other groups

People of color may have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine for personal or historic reasons. We address why some people hesitate and why we continue to recommend vaccination.

When Will Younger Children Be Eligible

Doc: COVID-19 vaccine safe for kids with weakened immune system

Although public health officials had predicted children ages 5 to 11 would be eligible by early fall, that now seems highly unlikely. The F.D.A. in July asked Pfizer and Moderna to expand the size of their clinical trials for younger children, resulting in the delay. Now public health officials are predicting emergency authorization of vaccines for young children by the end of the year.

Pfizer thinks maybe by the end of September theyll be ready to send in their trial data, Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said on the NPR program Morning Edition. And then F.D.A. will have to review it. Ive got to be honest, I dont see the approval for kids 5 to 11 coming much before the end of 2021.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nations top infectious disease expert, told the Today Show on NBC that there was a reasonable chance that Covid-19 shots would be available to children under 12 before the Christmas holidays, possibly as early as mid- to late fall. Both Pfizer and Moderna are gathering data on safety, the correct dose and effectiveness of the vaccines in children, he said.

Were collecting that data now, Dr. Fauci said. The data ultimately will be presented to the F.D.A. to look at for the balance between safety and risk benefit ratio for the children. I hope that process will take place expeditiously.

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What Are The Side Effects Of The Pfizer

Children ages 12 through 15 given the Pfizer-BioNTech;COVID-19;vaccine had side effects similar to those experienced by people age 16 and older. The most commonly reported side effects include:

  • Pain where the shot was given
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain

Similar to adults, children have side effects that typically last 1 to 3 days. More adolescents reported these side effects, except for injection site pain, after the second dose of the vaccine. However, some people have no side effects.

After your child is given a;COVID-19;vaccine, he or she will be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes to see if he or she has a severe allergic reaction that requires treatment.

It isnt recommended that you give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever before vaccination to prevent side effects. Its OK to give this kind of medication after your child gets a;COVID-19;vaccine.

Read more information below:

Would Getting The Covid

Theres a very good chance it will. The COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer each provide about a 95% chance of protecting you from developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 after completion of the two-dose series. The vaccine appears to be very effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Learn more about the;safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccine

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Experts Are Split On Whether Its Still Possible In This Calendar Year

For some time, the goal was to start getting shots in the arms of younger kids in September. No one expects that to happen now. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nations top infectious disease expert, has said that theres still a reasonable chance that kids younger than 12 will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine before we head into 2022 perhaps sometime in the mid-late fall.

Many other experts, including the surgeon general, have also said publicly that kids ages 5 to 11 will be eligible this year. The director of Pfizer recently laid out a scenario in which the drug manufacturer would have trial data available in September, submit an emergency use authorization application to the Food and Drug Administration in October, then hopefully have a vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds approved by late fall, early winter. Vice Adm. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, added that was an optimized scenario, however.

Other high-profile health experts have expressed skepticism about those timelines. In a recent interview with NPR, Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, suggested theyre unlikely.

Pfizer thinks that maybe by the end of September theyll be ready to send in their trial data , and then the FDA will have to review it. Ive got to be honest, I dont see the approval for kids 5 to 11 coming much before the end of 2021, Collins said.

What Side Effects Might I Expect For My Child

Shots in little arms: COVID

Nonsevere side effects may be experienced following vaccination. The most commonly reported side effects have been pain and swelling at the injection site. Other common side effects include tiredness and headache. Similar to young adults, some adolescents have experienced fever, chills, muscle aches and joint pain, which may be more common after the second dose. These effects are short-lived, however, and most resolve within one to two days.

Some adolescents may faint when receiving an injection. If this is a concern for your child, let your vaccine administration site know ahead of time your child can be given the vaccine while theyre seated or lying down to avoid injuries from falling.

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Can My Child Get A Covid

Yes, if he or she is age 12 or older. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have granted emergency use authorization for several COVID-19 vaccines The EUA means that these organizations have reviewed clinical trials data and determined that the vaccine is safe and effective. Currently, the Pfizer COVID-19 is authorized for use in kids ages 12 to 15.

Current safety and efficacy testing of the vaccines for children ages 2 and up may lead to authorization of one or more of the COVID-19 vaccines for younger kids in the months ahead.

How To Keep Children Safe

The United States has averaged 171,394 new Covid-19 cases every day over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Thats a 33% increase from one month ago.

And over the past week, an average of 1,843 Americans have died every day from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins data. Thats almost triple the average daily death rate from one month ago.

Covid-19 cases are surging among children, too, as schools have welcomed students back in many cases without mask mandates. The latest weekly count of new pediatric cases 243,373 marks about a 240% increase since July, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday.

Factors including school reopenings without proper masking have likely contributed to the increase, Fauci said Wednesday.

Also, weve got to realize that this is happening in the context of the Delta variant, which is remarkably more transmissible, so were getting more cases in everyone, Fauci said. When you get a highly transmissible virus thats going around the community, youre going to see a lot more children get infected.

Masks and vaccines are key to keeping children safe in schools, he added.

If you surround the kids with vaccinated people and you have everybody wear a mask, you can get a situation where the children will be relatively safe in school, Fauci said.

Reasonable people may disagree about a lot, but we can all agree that we must keep our children in the classroom, DeWine said.

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Will Kids Have Long

MIT Medical answers your COVID-19 questions. Got a question about COVID-19? Send it to us at;, and well do our best to provide an answer.

Im the mother of two daughters, and, just to be clear, Im NOT an anti-vaxxer. I trust science, and my kids have gotten all their required immunizations. But my oldest daughter turns 12 in a few weeks. This makes her eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and I find myself struggling with the decision.

Ive gotten the COVID vaccine myself, but making that decision for my kids feels different, especially since it seems that children are at lower risk for serious illness if they become infected. How does my daughters risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 compare with any possible risks associated with these new mRNA vaccines? Could she be at increased risk of cancer in the future? Or fertility problems? What is the possibility that this vaccine has unforeseen long-term safety risks?

Theoretically, its possible, but its possible in the same way that its possible for almost any product we use. Is there a minor ingredient in your lip gloss that will someday increase your risk of skin cancer? Who knows? Science cant prove a negative, so we cant say definitively that something like this isnt true or wont happen. But we can talk about probabilities, and in the case of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, both scientists and medical professionals believe that the potential long-term risks are very, very low.

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