A COVID-19 vaccine has finally arrived for children ages 5 to 11 – and with it, some important questions from parents.
Many are wondering about safety, Dr. Donna Curtis, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora says. Others are asking whether the coronavirus is enough of a threat to their child to require a vaccine.
Here are some answers that might help.
What is the vaccine, and where can I get it?
It’s one-third of the dose of the Pfizer vaccine that has been given to adults since December 2020 and adolescents 12 and up since May. Tens of millions of Americans have received Pfizer’s vaccine, and it’s considered very safe.
Data presented to the Food and Drug Administration showed the new dose was 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in 5- to 11-year-olds.
The vaccine is being distributed through pediatricians, pharmacies and others, with plans to scale up to full capacity starting Nov. 8, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention news release. Locations are listed at vaccines.gov. As with adults and adolescents, young children will need a second dose three weeks later.
Does my child even need a vaccine for COVID-19?
“We don’t think of children as the highest-risk group,” Curtis, who has done research on vaccines in immunocompromised children says. However, according to data reviewed by the CDC’s advisory panel on vaccines, as of Oct. 10, almost 2 million 5- to 11-year-olds have gotten ill from COVID-19, and 94 have died.
COVID-19 also has been linked to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a condition that causes