Q: Should my child receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to in-person school in August?
As a pediatrician, I’ve been hearing this question a lot from parents. I have seen first-hand how dangerous COVID-19 can be for people of all ages and I do recommend you consider vaccinating your child if they qualify to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that is now available has been approved by the CDC for children as young as 12 years old. This approval means that after a rigorous research and testing process, studies have found it is safe and effective for kids in this age group.
The vaccine does not contain any actual virus, which means that your child cannot get COVID from the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine has also been found to be more than 90 percent effective against COVID-19, making it one of the most effective vaccines available.
The fact is, while kids are less likely to get sick from COVID-19, it does happen. Getting vaccinated can protect your child, and prevent them from spreading COVID to others who may be more vulnerable to series complications and even death from contracting COVID-19. Additionally, as additional programs open up, being vaccinated may make it possible for them to participate in more school or extracurricular activities and sports, and even without masks in some cases.
Just like adults, kids will need to get a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after the first shot. They may also experience some symptoms after getting the shot, including soreness at the vaccine site, as well as fatigue, body aches, headache, chills, nausea, or fever. These symptoms are a sign that the immune system is kicking into gear and the vaccine is working. While they may be uncomfortable, they are temporary and should go away after a day or two.
If you are still unsure, or have questions about whether the COVID-19 vaccine is the right decision for your child, contact your pediatrician. You can find additional information and resources at mauihealth.org/covidvaccine.
CHAMPS Pediatrics LLC
1300 N. Holopono St. Suite 115
Kihei, HI 96753