Photo: PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Getty Images
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized the children ages 5 to 11 receive pediatric doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech to prevent COVID-19. Although this gave many parents a sigh of relief, there are others who express fear and doubt. For this reason, we answer many of the main questions below.
What is the difference between children’s doses and those for adults?
Children between the ages of 5 and 11 will receive a third of the dose given to adolescents and adults; 10 micrograms per injection compared to 30 for the other doses. They should also receive two injections, three weeks apart.
How efficient is this vaccine?
It has been shown to be around 91% efficient in preventing a symptomatic infection. Those who receive it develop as many antibodies as vaccinated adults.
What are the side effects?
Children who participated in the previous trial experienced arm pain and fatigue, but less chance of having a fever. For the Food and Drug Administration, there were no safety concerns in the aforementioned previous study.
What are the less common problems that have arisen from the vaccine?
Among adults, there has been heart inflammation as a very unusual side effect. It has been found mostly in males and male adolescents generally after the second dose, but recovery has been rapid. Doctors say that COVID-19 can cause more serious inflammation in the heart than the vaccine itself. Because it has been linked to testosterone and puberty, it is highly unlikely, according to experts, that this effect can occur in boys.
Where can I find the vaccine?
They are available in pediatric offices, clinics, and pharmacies; in the latter, vaccination is expected to start this weekend. Some schools have also considered setting up clinics to vaccinate their students.
Can I vaccinate my child against COVID-19 and influenza simultaneously?
The CDC assures that the vaccine against COVID-19 can be administered in the same visit as those of the influenzto or any other vaccine, so the answer is yes.
What about children who are close to turning 12 years old?
The CDC recommendation is that children receive the vaccine according to their age on the day of their injection, so if the first dose is 11 years old, they will receive the 10 microgram dose. And if he has turned 12 for the second dose, he will receive the 30th dose. Experts do not recommend that you wait for the little one to turn 12, but that he be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Is it mandatory to vaccinate children?
It is not mandatory by the authorities, but it is widely recommended.
Which children are most at risk of developing a serious COVID-19 infection?
Among children aged 5 to 11 who have had to be hospitalized for the disease, almost 70% have had medical problems, including asthma or obesity, but there have also been some cases of children considered healthy. Given this and the equity problems that have been encountered (greater hospitalization of black or Hispanic children), the recommendation is that all children be vaccinated.
What should I do if my child already had COVID-19?
Although previous infection provides some protection against a new infection, it is clear that this can vary and the time, so vaccination drastically reinforces the prevention of a new disease.
Is Pfizer’s the only option for vaccinating children?
At the moment, yes, although tests are currently being carried out with other brands and for different ages.
Will there be vaccinations for children under 5 years of age in the United States?
Before testing by other firms, it is important to be aware of new announcements made by the authorities, as it is likely that there will be soon.
Can the vaccine affect children’s DNA or affect their fertility?
The COVID-19 vaccines do not interact in any way with DNA, experts clarify, so there is no way to modify DNA neither of children nor of adults. It also does not interfere with any natural processes in the body.
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