Silly Rabbit. Trix are for kids. Growing up this was a cereal commercial. It reminded us that this highly sugary cereal was meant for children. Not a cereal for adults or rabbits, but kids. Now the most common question I am getting is “Hey doc should my kids get a covid vaccine?” Silly parents. Vaccines are for kids.
I think the best way to start the discussion about children getting vaccinated for covid is by realizing that it is normal for parents to be reluctant. I think having a conversation about their concerns is a good place for us to get started.
The Pfizer vaccine has now been approved for children aged 12-16 and it does look like the Moderna vaccine will be approved in the near future.
Did the vaccine come out too quickly? The answer to this question is both yes and no. First I want to point out that the pandemic changed everyone’s lives including virologists, researchers and pharmaceutical companies. Basically all of the scientists ever involved in vaccines stopped what they were doing to work on a vaccine. The technology behind mRNA has been around for a while.
What long term outcomes could happen from the vaccine? Most vaccine issues happen within the first 42 days. These vaccines do create quite an immune response but that happens right away. At this point with adults, we have data almost a year out since the vaccine trials started in adults last summer. We do not have many examples ever in the past of vaccines not causing immediate issues but then leading to long term negative outcomes.
What did the kids trials show? I think parents want real information. So here it is. They studied around 3,000 children aged 12-15 for over three months. Of those that got the vaccine zero were infected with covid by the end of the trial. And 18 in the placebo trial did get infected with covid. Also those that were vaccinated were found to have strong immunity a month after the second dose.
Could my child have side effects? They can absolutely get an immune response. Vaccines are not benign, but they can be life saving. Side effects include redness, arm pain and achiness. The rate of side effects in the children’s studies were the same as what has been found in adults.
But kids do not really get that sick? This is true. But there have been 130.000 hospitalizations in those under 18 in the past year. I have taken care of many children that had covid. None of them were critically ill. But they got their parents sick. They had to quarantine while they recovered. There are many pockets of outbreaks from adolescents. There is also a rare chance that children can develop Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children after getting COVID-19 infection.
The world now has given almost 2 billion doses of covid vaccines. Not all to children. But at this time it is not experimental. It is not new. It is saving the world from a pandemic that would have gone on for many years without vaccines.
I love well checks for children. I get an update on what foods they like. How much weight they have gained. Whether or not they slept through the night. I hold them and try to remember when my children were still that little. Then I give them shots. Lots of vaccines. At 2 months and 4 months and 6 months and 1 year and more. Because as I said earlier – Silly parents. Vaccines are for kids. But on second thought we probably shouldn’t give Trix to kids.
The Doc is In