Kids and Covid Vaccine: What should parents do to prepare?

According to new data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, as of October 7, 6,047,371 children cumulatively tested positive for Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

And with covid-19 child cases rising faster in the last quarter than at the beginning of the pandemic, it was a relief when in September, both Pfizer and its partner BioNTech declared their two-dose COVID-19 vaccine safe for children aged 5 to 11.

Their scientists at the time were describing the vaccine as “safe” and “well-tolerated” for children aged 5 to 10.

“The safety profile and immunogenicity data in children aged 5 to 11 years vaccinated at a lower does are consistent with those we have observed with our vaccine in other older populations a higher dose,” said Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO, and co-founder of BioNTech, in a statement in September

The pharma company applied for an emergency use application with the Food and Drug Administration, and it was expected to receive approval around the Halloween season.

True to these expectations, the FDA has since granted emergency use authorization to the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech on Friday for children aged 5 to 11.

“As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization. Vaccinating younger children against Covid-19 will bring us closure to returning to a sense of normalcy,” said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement.                 

But with the vaccines almost here, are parents willing to vaccinate their children? And though vaccine hesitancy was rife in July, more parents were willing to vaccinate their children in mid-September, according to a recent survey done between September 13 to 22 when Covid-19 infections were surging.

A report done by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggested that since the Pfizer vaccine is already in use for children aged 12 to 15, more parents with children in that age group were now more comfortable with it. The report shows that parents with children aged between 5 to 11 were reportedly more open to the vaccine—with 34 percent of them saying that they would vaccinate their children as soon as possible, up from 26 percent in July.

The FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, but it still awaits approval from The Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the meantime, parents should prepare themselves and their children for possible vaccine visits.

  • The CDC recommends that before going for a vaccine visit, parents read materials they’ve received from their child’s healthcare professional and write down any questions they may have—by doing so, they will get a better understanding of the vaccine, and they will have their fears alleviated.
  • Secondly, call your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor and inform them that you plan to get your child vaccinated. Ask the questions that you had written down in step one.
  • As your child prepares to have a Covid-19 vaccine shot, note down any other vaccines that your child may require. That way, they can get vaccinated for them at the same time as the Covid-19 vaccine shot.
  • Call your child’s pediatric hospital or office and schedule an appointment for your child’s Covid-19 vaccination.
  • Make sure to talk to your child prior to vaccination. Explain to them where they are going and why they are going—that will help with how your child behaves during vaccination.
  • And after your child gets the first jab, don’t forget to make a follow-up appointment for the second dose.
  • Keep the vaccination card that you will be given, and because additional information may be added to it, don’t laminate it.

Covid-19 has undeniably had effects on both the young and old across the globe. May it be through school closures, working remotely, lockdowns, physical distancing, wearing masks in public, and the loss of loved ones—Covid-19 has had an impact. Covid-19 vaccinations bring us a step closer to going near normalcy post-pandemic.

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