Thu Jul 14th, 2022
Tags: COVID-19 vaccines, Good Brain Strong Heart, Moderna vaccine, Pfizer vaccine, Sandra Beirne, Southern Ute Health Center, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
In mid-June, after a very long wait, COVID-19 vaccines finally became available for our youngest kids. On June 18, 2022, immediately after the FDA authorization of two vaccine products for children this age, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the recommendation for kids six months to five years old to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Since then, other organizations have also issued recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination for this age group, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The two products authorized are from the makers of the initial COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna. While both products are recommended for kids in this age group, the two are a little different. The young child Pfizer vaccine is for kids six months to four years old and is a 3-dose series given three weeks apart between doses 1 and 2, and eight weeks apart between doses 2 and 3. Each dose is 1/10th of an adult dose and after three doses it was 80% effective in preventing an infection with symptoms. The young child Moderna vaccine is for kids six months to six years old and is given in two doses, four weeks apart. Each dose is 1/4th of an adult dose and after two doses, it was 40-50% effective at preventing an infection with symptoms.
For parents, protecting their children is their primal instinct and their job, and it can be scary to give our kids a new vaccine. While nothing is 100% safe, these vaccines have been very carefully tested and the data from those tests heavily scrutinized by many scientists and determined by the FDA to be safe. That decision is not made lightly and not without lots of experts providing lots of layers of oversight because everyone wants kids to be safe and healthy.
Mercifully, COVID-19 infections have been less severe in children, when looking at the whole population, but that doesn’t mean individual children have not gotten very sick and even died. For those families, the statistics on the overall low severity in children are meaningless. Because a severe illness or death from COVID-19 in even one child is unacceptable, vaccines are recommended for all kids, starting at six months of age.
Additionally, as we all know too well, kids are often carriers of viruses. The less people getting infected, the less there are to spread the virus, particularly to those who are at the highest risk of severe infection. Many, many children have already been infected with the COVID-19 virus. But even they are recommended to get the vaccine as we don’t know how long there is immunologic protection after an infection.
Keep in mind that it is OK for your child to get any other vaccine they are due for at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, so they can get caught up on their routine vaccines while also start on the path to being protected against COVID-19 infection.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination in children, try one of the multiple articles on HealthyChildren.org.
You can make an appointment for your child to be seen at the Southern Ute Health Clinic to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, by calling 970-563-4581.