Summer is here, and many of us are looking forward to longer, more relaxed days with our families. This is our third summer since the pandemic started, but this year feels different. Since COVID vaccines are widely available, many of us aren’t as hesitant as we were last summer to gather with friends, travel, and let our kids participate in activities. However, many parents still have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and children. Cedar Rapids Moms polled our audience and found that many of these questions overlap among families. We are so grateful that Michael Brownlee, PharmD and Associate Director and Chief Pharmacy Officer of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics took the time to answer these questions.
4 COVID Vaccine Questions from Parents
How well are COVID-19 vaccines working against variants?
COVID-19 vaccines are working really well against several variants that we’ve seen come through the communities. These low-risk vaccines remain very effective at doing what they were designed to do, which is to prevent serious disease, hospitalization, and death. Over time, we’ve seen that the majority of serious illness and hospitalizations occur in the unvaccinated.
Why should my child be vaccinated if they are at low risk for severe disease?
We have been fortunate that through the pandemic, most kids haven’t been getting very sick. However, low-risk doesn’t mean no-risk. Kids can still get sick, and they can have serious illness from COVID. Kids over age 5 are eligible for this safe, effective vaccine, and we want to prevent severe disease in as many kids as we can.
How long do COVID vaccines offer protection for kids under 12?
The data is still being studied for how long the vaccine will be effective for kids age 5-11. The immune systems of these kids are still developing, so it takes a little longer to determine the efficacy. We do have a lot of data on kids age 12 and older, which shows waning vaccine efficacy after about 5 months. We expect that kids age 5-11 may also need additional doses or a new type of dose in the future.
*Shortly after this interview was recorded, CDC approved boosters for kids ages 5-11 and recommends them for everyone 5 and older. *
When will COVID vaccines be available for kids under 5?
Both Moderna and Pfizer have submitted data to the FDA for consideration for children in this age group. We believe both the CDC and the FDA will review this data in June and potentially approve these vaccines. We will follow our standard process to make sure the vaccines are safe and effective for all kids.
Moms, let’s do everything we can so that all families in our communities can have a fun and safe summer. This includes getting as many people vaccinated as possible against COVID, including our kids. Vaccines are safe, effective and free. If you have any additional questions or concerns about COVID vaccines for kids, ask your pediatrician for guidance.
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