Schaffner Report on COVID-19 Vaccine for Young Kids: Leading Infectious Disease Expert Answers Common Questions by National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Wondering if you should get your young child vaccinated against COVID-19? The U.S. has taken another big step forward in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines now approved for children ages 6 months and older. Many parents and health-care professionals have been eagerly anticipating this development, while others may still be on the fence.
What should parents and health-care professionals know about the new vaccine options? Do infants and young children really need to be vaccinated and if so, why? What about those children who have already had COVID-19? In this final episode of the Schaffner Report, Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), answers these questions and more as he talks with NFID Executive Director and CEO Marla Dalton, CAE, about the implications for parents and health-care professionals alike.
Here are five key takeaways from the interview with Dr. Schaffner:
- Children may be less affected by COVID-19 than adults, but that doesn't mean they are NOT affected. Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 2 million cases have occurred in children ages 6 months to 4 years old. COVID-19 has been a leading cause of death in young children, and over 20,000 kids 4 and under have been hospitalized. But as Dr. Schaffner states, "For each one of those parents, that's 100 percent."
- The American Pediatric Association (APA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and infectious disease experts like Dr. Schaffner recommend vaccinating children ages 6 months to age 4. There are two vaccines available: Pfizer and Moderna. Each has been carefully altered for young children. The Pfizer vaccine has three doses and the Moderna has two. When asked if he recommends one over the other, Dr. Schaffner replied, "Whichever one is available; that's the one you want for your child."
- If your little one has already had COVID, Dr. Schaffner strongly urges you to vaccinate them as well, because the vaccination is "the icing on the cake, a thicker layer of protection" for potential future infection.
- If your child is on schedule to receive another vaccine too, they may. The CDC and the APA have given the greenlight for the COVID vaccine and another to be given at the same time.
- Every vaccine has potential side effects. Possible side effects with the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Children may have a sore arm, swelling and/or redness at vaccine site.
- Infants may get fussy or not feed as well for a day or two.
- A small percentage of kids will develop a fever, as is the case with other vaccines.
If you have any concerns, contact your health-care provider.
Although this is the final episode of the Schaffner Report, NFID will soon launch a new podcast which will feature the wisdom and insights of many leading experts in the field.
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