What Parents and Caregivers Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under Five
The FDA recently announced the emergency approval of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children ages six months through four years old. Many parents and caregivers have been waiting with bated breath for this, while others have reservations. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group.
This blog aims to share important information and common questions to help you make an informed decision about having your child vaccinated.
COVID-19 Doses vary by manufacturer.
The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose vaccine. The third dose is more effective at protecting babies and young children from the most common variant in the US. The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose vaccine. Moderna is studying a third dose of their vaccine to see if it provides more protection than the two-dose series. It is also important to note that this age group receives a smaller dose of the COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults.
Which COVID-19 vaccine is better?
The idea of a three-dose vaccine may concern you, but it shouldn’t. The AAP doesn’t recommend one vaccine over another as both are proven safe and effective. At Rainbow Pediatrics, we recommend getting whichever vaccine is available.
Are there side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine in babies and young children?
The same mild side effects noted in routine childhood vaccines can be seen in the COVID-19 vaccine. This can include soreness at the injection site, nausea, chills, and a fever which usually only lasts a day or two. During the clinical studies, thousands of children were tested, and there were zero serious allergic reactions, heart inflammation, or other serious problems related to the vaccine.
If my child has had COVID, when should they get the vaccine?
The AAP recommends that if your child has had COVID-19, follow the CDC guidelines and still get vaccinated. Growing evidence has shown that the vaccine provides more protection against COVID-19 than one would have after testing positive. Parents can wait three months from when symptoms started or from when they received a positive test. If a child tests positive after receiving their first dose, the CDC recommends that they wait until their isolation period expires before receiving their second shot.
How effective is the vaccine against COVID-19 symptoms?
Based on the research for this age group, protection will likely be similar to that of older kids. After the third dose, the Pfizer vaccine provided a strong immune response and was 80.3% effective at preventing symptomatic infection. The Moderna vaccine was found to be 51% effective against symptomatic infection in children ages six months through two years and 37% effective among those ages two to five.
How do I schedule my child’s COVID-19 vaccine?
We now offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages six months and up. We encourage parents and caregivers to call their preferred location to schedule their child’s vaccine. Even though it is summer and kids are outdoors more, the vaccine is recommended. Remember, the vaccine protects the vaccinated individual AND the other people they come into contact with.