Everything parents need to know about covid-19 vaccines for children six months and older

After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of vaccines against covid-19 for infants and children older than 6 months, and as California prepares to launch distribution, medical experts agree that the benefits of immunization outweigh any side effects that may occur.

Therefore, they warn that there is much work to be done to make parents aware of the benefit of the vaccine both for their minor children and for the entire community.

During the videoconference: “Vaccinating California’s youngest children. What parents have to knowr”, organized by Ethnic Media Servicesseveral medical experts discussed side effects, how effective the vaccine is, and how many boosters are needed.

“Globally we have seen an increase in cases, and in California it seems that we are flattening the numbers, but there is definitely a need for vaccines for the entire population,” said Dr. Lucia Abascal of the California Department of Public Health.

The Omicron had a great impact on children. (Getty Images)

As far as children are concerned, he says there is a misunderstanding that nothing happens to them if they get sick with covid.

“We have more and more evidence that children are at high risk of being hospitalized for covid, suffering from the inflammatory syndrome and dying.”

He said that it is very important that parents see their children’s doctors, because for the vaccine for those over six months, there will be no mass vaccination clinics or great access to receive it in pharmacies.

The state has purchased enough vaccine for each child, but they will arrive in batches. By this week, we hope to receive half a million vaccines to start”.

He made it clear that they have a lot of work to make parents see the need for the vaccine.

“The vaccines that will be available are Moderna and Pfizer. La Moderna will be applied in two doses as for adults, one month apart; and Pfizer are three small doses, the second will be applied 21 days after the first; and the third, 60 days later”.

He specified that Moderna is a quarter of the adult dose; and the Pfizer vaccines are a tenth, so since the Moderna is stronger, the side effects may present a little more fever and irritability, but in two days they disappear.

Why expose children to the side effects of the vaccine, if when covid hits them, the symptoms are mild?

“When my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter got sick, she infected two healthy adults, but there are many grandparents who live with their children and are at risk if the children get sick. While the vaccine is not perfect protection, there is a lower chance of not ending up in the hospital and dying.”

grandparents with cell phone
It is important that children get vaccinated against covid-19 to protect their grandparents. (shutterstock)

Personal experience

Dr. Abascal reported that while waiting for the vaccine to be able to give her 19-month-old daughter the vaccine, the minor caught covid and transmitted the virus to her father and to her, who is 32 weeks pregnant.

“My husband and I were resting and watching television. We are both vaccinated and have the booster. I was in contact with my doctor; and the baby she is expecting is fine.”

But her girl who got sick with covid felt tired, she stayed in bed for three days with a fever.

“The hardest thing was being locked up with her,” she says.

Now, she hopes to get her daughter vaccinated as soon as possible.

Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Miller of East Bay PediatricsHe said that in his medical practice, he has seen three types of patients and families.

“The first group is the families who knock on your door, eager for their children to be vaccinated. Those are the easiest; the second group are families who are not very excited about the vaccine and are regretting their children getting it. Even when they believe in science, they are afraid of the unknown.”

And the third group of families are those who do not want to vaccinate their children. “They may have been vaccinated themselves, but they don’t feel comfortable about their children getting vaccinated because they don’t believe the vaccine is safe, necessary, and they are afraid of the long-term effects.”

He said this group of families has said they will wait for the FDA to officially approve it, and they are not happy with an emergency authorization.

Hospitalizations of children with Covid-19
Parents fear the side effects of the covid vaccine. (Getty Images)

What worries you the most?

“They are concerned that the side effects of the vaccine could be dramatic and dangerous, and even kill them. But what we have seen is the same effects of any other vaccine for children, a little fever, pain in the arm and in the body.

He said he has explained to families that side effects are a sign that the immune system is activating.

“Other families are concerned that it will affect their daughters’ fertility. Several mothers have told me that the vaccine has affected their normal menstrual cycle, and now it is irregular.

However, he mentioned that there are no statistics to support these claims, and more than 200,000 pregnant women in the United States have been vaccinated against covid without complications.

“Other families are concerned about the inflammation of the heart muscles that has been seen especially in adolescent boys, but statistics have shown that the covid itself causes more severe cases of myocarditis than the vaccine.”

Others have said that covid has already hit them in a mild way, and they don’t mind being hit again, and they prefer to get sick than get vaccinated.

“I am also hearing from patients that the vaccine was approved too quickly and some phases of testing were skipped, when in fact all the steps that are required to approve a vaccine were done.”

The difference, he explained, is that many of the phases were tested at the same time, none were cut.

“This vaccine is going to be the most studied in history. The science behind this vaccine is more than 20 years old.”

What to say to families in the face of their fears and concerns?

“I recognize that it is normal to be afraid of new things and I remind you that we are in this together, and that I care about the health and well-being of children, and I am going to recommend the best to you. In the end it is your decision, but not getting vaccinated leads to covid and you cannot predict how severe it will be..

“One in 5 hospitalized children ends up in the emergency room. During the Omicron outbreak, children under 4 years old were hospitalized five times more than with the Delta rebound in the United States.

And he added that 12 million children have had covid, and 120,000 have been hospitalized, and about 1,500 have died; while in California there were more than 900 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

“Covid is now among the five leading causes of death in children, and vaccines prevent it, and are effective and safe for children from six months.”

The vaccines for Covid authorized for babies from six months are Moderna and Pfizer. (Getty Images)

protection for all

Sarah Takekawa, OB/GYN kaiser permanent in south Sacramento, she became pregnant with her third child the same month she had her second covid shot, and in the eighth month of pregnancy, she got the booster.

“Although for her and her husband, Dr. Voltaire (Volt) Sinigayan of UC DavisHealth The decision to vaccinate their children was easy, they understand that parents have to discuss the issue. We wanted to give our 5-year-old daughter the Moderna vaccine, but the one that was available was Pfizer.”

In her family, when she planned to vaccinate her second three-and-a-half-year-old daughter and they already had the appointment, because the girl goes to daycare, she came out positive for covid, but the rest of the family that is vaccinated remains negative for the virus. .

He made it clear that fear of the unknown and potential side effects outweighs what they have seen with covid hospitalizations, and the impact not just on one person but on a community.

“We’re trying to teach kids that by getting vaccinated they’re not just protecting themselves, they’re protecting their peers and the entire community.”