Answers relating to COVID vaccines for younger children

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:29 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 6:16 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many of you as parents may be eager to vaccinate your kids and are waiting for federal agencies to review data from trials showing that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children.

An advisory panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to discuss the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children between ages 5 and 11 years old on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

So, we took your questions to a health expert with Ochsner Baton Rouge for what parents need to know.

What do parents need to know about getting their kids vaxxed?

  • Ochsner: The study shows that the vaccine works. The initial study shows long-term side effects from the vaccine are either not occurring, or they’re occurring at a risk that is far less than the risk of getting COVID. Kids are still at risk of getting COVID, and even though the complications are rare, they are still exist.

Will they need one shot? Half a shot? A booster?

  • Ochsner: It’s a third of the dose of adults, and it is going to be given in two shots with three-four weeks apart. Too early to know if children will need a booster. Will need to be studied.

Why isn’t dose determined by height weight like other vaccines?

  • Ochsner: Dose is based on general immunity. Major vaccines for kids aren’t weight based.

Can they go to Walgreens? Do they have to go through a pediatrician?

  • Ochsner: They don’t need an order from a pediatrician.

Are kids getting different side effects than adults?

  • Minimal short term side effects reported in the studies. That includes minor side effects like arm soreness and fatigue which goes away within 24 to 48 hours.

“This age group of children they go to school,” said Dr. Ralph Dauterive, Vice President of Medical Affairs with Ochsner Baton Rouge. “They mix in with large groups, and that’s how COVID spreads through large groups of people coming in contact with each other. I think it’s important, but I think you have to take into account the individual risk.”

Dauterive said part of the whole vaccine discussion is not just about personal protection, but it’s what about what you’re doing to help society.

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