Children and the Covid Vaccine: What Parents Need to Know
“It’s one of the best tech if you’re worried that something is left in your child’s body,” said Dr. Ibukun C. Kalu, professor of pediatrics at Duke University. “There is no way that it can be stored in DNA or trigger a long-term cascade that will impact a child’s reproductive organs.”
Another common concern among parents is the effect of a new drug or vaccine on brain development. Dr Offit noted that the body has a blood-brain barrier which prevents most of the proteins from entering the brain. “Your brain is an immunologically protected site,” he said.
Considering the low risk of Covid for children, why not wait for more data to have my child vaccinated?
Although children are less likely to develop serious illness from Covid-19, they are still at risk. Nearly four million children in the United States have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and more than 300 died. Last winter, doctors reported a growing number of patients with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a Covid-related disease that can affect multiple organs, including the heart.
Dr Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and professor at Brown University in Providence, RI, said she had “no safety concerns” with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, noting that hundreds of millions of people in the world had received it. Her 12-year-old daughter will be vaccinated and her 9-year-old son will be vaccinated when he is eligible, she said.
“The risk of your child catching Covid and getting really sick is low, but it is not zero,” Dr Ranney said. “And the risk of them getting sick or hospitalized or worse with Covid or with post-Covid multi-inflammatory syndrome is higher than the risk of something bad with this vaccine. “
Currently, about 24% of Covid cases in the United States involve young children, said Dr Offit. He notes that more American children have died from Covid during the pandemic than die each year from other diseases for which children are regularly vaccinated. In the United States, about 75 to 150 children die from the flu each year, he said, and about 100 children die from chickenpox.
“If I had to convince a relative, I would take them to the hospital with me and let them tour our Covid ward to see what this disease looks like,” said Dr Offit. “There are all reasons to get them vaccinated. If I had a 12 to 15 year old child, I would get him vaccinated in a minute.
Additional reports provided by Apoorva Mandavilli, Abby goodnough, Denise Grady, Melinda Wenner Moyer