As Covid-19 continues to spread in communities across the country and world, many parents are eagerly waiting for their child to be eligible for vaccination, while others have questions around the vaccines for children.
The FDA has fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for individuals 16 and older. Children ages 12 to 15 are able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine under the emergency use authorization. Safety and efficacy testing is ongoing for children ages 2 and up, which may lead to the authorization of one or more Covid-19 vaccines for younger kids in the coming months.
We know that there is a lot of information going around about Covid and vaccines. Starlight wants to provide you with facts and information that will help you make a decision with your child’s health top of mind.
What are some common questions parents have about the vaccine?
When will vaccines be approved for kids 12 and under?
While the vaccine has proven to be safe in individuals 12 and older, it is currently being studied in the following age groups: 5-to 11-year-olds, then 2-to 5-year-olds followed by infants, 6 months and up. As of now, children aged 5 to 11 should be able to get vaccinated by the end of year with 2-to 5-year-olds being vaccinated either very late this year or early 2022.
Were the vaccines rushed?
No, the technology used in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines has been in development for decades. Once the RNA sequence of Covid-19 was identified, scientists were able to quickly incorporate it into the mRNA vaccines using this technology. Per the FDA’s emergency use authorization protocols, the development of the vaccines did not skip any steps or take any shortcuts; they also had direct access to many resources as governments across the world were supportive of this research. Plus, because Covid-19 was so widespread throughout the country, there is plenty of data that proves the effectiveness of the vaccines.
What about future fertility issues?
There is no data to suggest that the vaccines generate effective anti-placental antibodies, which can make it impossible for a placenta to thrive during pregnancy.
What about long-term effects?
Serious side effects are extremely unlikely after vaccination. Historical data demonstrates that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose; this is why the FDA required the Covid-19 vaccines to be studied for at least 8 weeks after the final dose to catch any possible side effects.
Why do healthy kids need to be vaccinated?
The goal of vaccines are to keep healthy kids healthy. Vaccines protect your child’s body against the virus and work to keep them from getting sick—if you wait till your child gets sick, it will be too late for the vaccine to offer protection.
Why should your kids be vaccinated against Covid-19?
The vaccine will help prevent your child from getting Covid-19. While not everyone is affected by Covid in the same way, children can get severe lung infections and become very sick. There are also serious complications, like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), that can have long-lasting effects on their health.
The vaccine can help prevent the spread of Covid-19. While children tend to not get as sick from Covid as adults, they can still easily spread the virus and infect other individuals that may be more susceptible to severe disease.
When you get vaccinated, you are helping stop other variants from emerging. Getting vaccinated reduces the virus’ chance to mutate into new variants—like the current Delta variant, which is even more contagious than earlier versions. This is extremely important as we work to ensure that a more dangerous variant doesn’t emerge.
Vaccines help protect the community and build herd immunity. Each person that is vaccinated helps stop the spread of the virus within their community. This in turn can ease the pressure on our hospital systems because fewer people will be testing positive and the transmission rate will decrease.
At Starlight, we know how important vaccinations are to not only protect ourselves, but to protect the vulnerable individuals within our population—which often includes Starlight kids, who may be facing severe or chronic illnesses and are more susceptible to viruses. When making the decision to get your child vaccinated, remember that you are working to keep your child and other children around them safe and healthy.