Why You Should Vaccinate Your Kids Against COVID-19
It’s time for my healthy nine-year-old son to get vaccinated against COVID-19. In fact, it’s time for every kid aged five to eleven to get vaccinated.
The data from clinical trials has been reviewed by an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration. It aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy, in both children and adults, of Pfizer BioNTech’s vaccine. Experts unanimously recommended that the vaccine be approved for children aged 5-11 years. The next step is for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to decide whether vaccines should be available for all children or just some. Some experts suggest that vaccines should only be administered to high-risk children while more data is collected.
It would be wrong to wait for all children to get vaccinated. We have data that shows the answer to our question is obvious: The CDC should suggest that every child between the ages of five and 11 years should be vaccinated immediately.
All experts can agree on one thing: Immunization of children should be based upon solid evidence. It is important to set an especially high standard for vaccine use in children who are healthy.
This is the first time that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine has met this standard. These vaccines are highly effective and reduce COVID infection by over 90%. It is clear that they work with kids. These numbers are based upon data collected during the Delta surge, when adult vaccines were more prevalent in the U.S. This remarkable level of immunity to the vaccine is at an era when infections rates were very high, it’s amazing.
The common question of whether or not we should vaccinate children, which is largely caused by COVID-19 minimisers, has been a source of confusion. Children are much more susceptible to getting sick than adult. This is true—but also not the point. It is important to understand how COVID-related risks for children compare with other potential dangers. This data is very compelling for children. COVID-19, which was sixth in deaths from children between five and eleven years, led to almost 700 child deaths. A typical flu season sees 200 deaths per year. This is unacceptable and we strongly recommend that everyone be vaccinated. Children are still more likely to die from COVID than the flu.
It is now time to consider the benefits and risks associated with vaccines compared to COVID. Here, the calculation is also straightforward: the virus is a constant threat, to our children and all with whom they interact—including playmates, friends, and relatives. We have seen what COVID can do if we don’t control its spread. Although the worst effects of the Delta flood are over, more than 1000 Americans continue to die each day due to the virus. Vaccines can prevent the spread and prevention of infections, saving lives.
COVID vaccines may have side effects similar to other vaccines. These side effects can include a sore elbow, fever, headaches or headaches. However, these side effects are short-lived and mild. There are also important concerns about one specific side effect that is crucial to recognize and fully understand: myocarditis—or an inflammation of the heart muscle.
In the pre-COVID age, myocarditis is a rare disease that was more frequently associated with viral infections like influenza and coxsackie. Some cases may be severe and cause long-term complications. This could occur due to either the viral infection or an intense immune system response. This myocarditis is common in children unvaccinated who have been exposed to COVID. Some cases may be very serious.
Vaccine-induced myocarditis is quite different. It is extremely rare. The risk of developing myocarditis due to COVID in 12- and 17-year olds is only 1/10 thousand. This information comes from our best data. Boys are more likely to experience the side-effect, at 17/100,000. We don’t know why this difference exists, though there may be a role for the hormone testosterone. The rare cases of myocarditis due to vaccines among teenagers were very mild, and these teens recovered after a week.
Clinical trials did not detect myocarditis in children aged 5-11 years old. There were 2,000 vaccine-effected children in the trial. It is possible that very rare side effects could have been overlooked. It is evident that myocarditis does not occur in children aged five to 11, and the incidence of this condition in prepubescent boys is higher than that in teens.
SARS-CoV2 must be prepared for an era in which it will become widespread and circulating throughout the world for decades. I care about my child’s health over the long term, not just the brief window when side effects may occur. Even if side effects do occur, the benefits of vaccines will continue for many years. The risk of developing side effects from the COVID vaccine after 6 months is virtually zero. I will see a lot of benefits for my baby.
Virtually every authority on child health supports vaccinations. American Association of Pediatrics and American Association of Family Practitioners have both supported vaccines. They represent millions of pediatricians.
I get it. Kids don’t like any vaccines. Needles can be frightening. My 9-year-old has asked if there is an option that doesn’t involve a needle. That would be great. It can be scary for parents to administer a vaccine to their child. Even though we are unfamiliar with the situation, our desire is to do the right things.
You can take a moment to reflect back on the impact vaccines had on our lives, as well as our life expectancy. We give children dozens of vaccines, without which they would be vulnerable to potentially fatal diseases from measles to pneumococcal disease—diseases that continue to sicken unvaccinated children around the world. The CDC must add another tool to its arsenal to protect our children. COVID vaccines are needed for children aged five- to eleven. This will allow parents and children to get vaccinated, as well as keep their kids safe. That’s what I’m going to do.