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COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids: A Pediatrician Explains What Parents Should Know

CLEVELAND:  Dr. Karen Estrella, pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, weighs in on the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine receiving emergency use authorization in children ages 12-15. She also shares the importance of vaccinating kids.

Dr. Estrella is certified in pediatrics and sees patients at the Independence Family Health Center and Westown Physician Center locations.

Who is eligible for vaccination?

In mid-May, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for children as young as 12-years-old by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Pfizer vaccine is also authorized for teens over age 16. Two other vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for individuals over the age of 18.

Is the Pifzer vaccine safe for children?

Before being made available to the public, the Pfizer vaccine was thoroughly tested to specifically evaluate its safety and effectiveness in adolescents between the ages 12-15. Pfizer also released its data showing that 100% of children responded positively with good antibody responses to the vaccine in their trial.

The clinical trial studied more than 2,000 children with some of the participants receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, while others were given a placebo. The trial results showed that none of the vaccine recipients contracted COVID-19.

Why should my child receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

At Cleveland Clinic Children’s, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Vaccinating children is a critical step to get the pandemic under control and return to a normal life. In order to reach herd immunity, it’s estimated that 50-80% percent of the population must be vaccinated, and that includes kids.

While children have generally had milder cases of COVID-19, some children have become severely ill from the virus or developed a rare COVID-related illness called, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

It’s important to note that children can still transmit the virus. Therefore, we believe it’s important to protect them and those around them by getting them vaccinated.

Are there side effects that I should be concerned with?

Similar to adults, children may also experience mild side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, serious side effects in both adults and children are rare.

Common side effects include:

  • Soreness at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches

 Will the vaccine affect my child’s future fertility?

No. We understand that some parents are concerned about whether the COVID-19 vaccine might affect their child’s ability to conceive in adulthood, however, this concern is not backed by science. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects an individual’s fertility.

In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, urges everyone, including pregnant women and those who would like to become pregnant in the future, to get a COVID-19 vaccine.


When will younger children be vaccinated?

There are several drug companies working to expand their COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials to include younger children and babies as young as six months. At this moment, there is no definitive timeline for when these vaccines will become available to the public.

This will be a big step in our efforts to slow the spread of the virus. These pediatric vaccine trials will help provide vital safety data, and help us better understand the vaccine’s immune response in children. In the meantime, as we wait, we should continue to wear masks, social distance, wash hands frequently and avoid gatherings.




Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/08/21 21:32:46 -0700.





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