Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for kids is finally here. Are you ready to have your kids vaccinated? Here’s what you need to learn about the vaccine here.
What can you read in this article?
- Who are qualified to get the Covid vaccine for kids?
- Covid vaccine side effects for kids
- Kids with comorbidities, are they allowed to get the vaccine?
- 12 facts about Covid Pfizer vaccination of children under 12
Parents of younger kids can now heave a sigh of relief as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially approved emergency authorization for kids aged 5-11 years to receive Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
With this approval, a lot of more kids will become eligible for the coronavirus vaccine across the country.
While kids’ risk of severe illness from COVID is still low. There have been over 500 pediatric deaths related to COVID-19. Over 40 deaths have also occurred due to a rare but serious coronavirus-linked condition called multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), according to the CDC.
While some parents are planning to get their kids vaccinated. Others are planning to wait it out before scheduling those shots. It is understandable that there are also parents in the Philippines with kids under 12 who are hesitant about vaccination. But it’s also important to know all the facts first.
To help you decide whether you should already sign your kids up for vaccination, here’s everything you need to know about the Pfizer Covid vaccine pediatric dose.
You can also watch our webinar entitled, Bakuna Real Talks: Resbakuna Kids Orientation on Pediatric Vaccination for Children Aged 5-11! organized by theAsianparent Philippines to know more about vaccination for our children aged 5-11.
12 facts about Covid Pfizer vaccination of children under 12
Image courtesy: iStock
1. Efficacy of the vaccine
Pfizer’s clinical trial which started in March last year included 4,500 children ages 5 to 11 years. Almost two-thirds received a lower dose COVID vaccine and others received a placebo. This is to compare the outcomes for efficacy and side effects.
It was found that the vaccine was 100% effective at protecting kids from any severe illness from coronavirus. The levels of antibody produced by kids in this age group were comparable to the immune response seen in kids 12 and over and adults.
Elizabeth Lloyd, M.D., a pediatric infectious diseases expert at the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said that the vaccine produced a strong immune response in young kids and found that in multiple scenarios, the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks for this age group.
2. Side effects
Younger kids also experienced minor side effects.
For instance, more than two-third had pain and soreness at the injection site, two-fifths faced fatigue, and nearly a third reported headaches.
These side effects turned worse after the second dose, but it usually lasted just a couple of days. Lloyd explained that there were four serious adverse events that occurred during the trial, but further probe revealed that none of them were in any way related to the vaccine.
Out of the 3,000 children who received the vaccine, there were only three cases of the COVID-19, but none of them led to any severe illness.
3. Risk of Myocarditis
Myocarditis is a kind of inflammation in and around the heart and is an extremely rare side effect of the vaccine. It has predominantly affected men who are under the age of 30 and about 1 in 20,000 kids aged 12-17 years.
The good news is that none of the kids in the Pfizer trial between the ages of 5 and 11 years experienced myocarditis.
However, since it’s so rare, experts will continue to monitor it as a large number of kids receive the vaccine. Experts say that younger kids have an even lower risk of developing any rare side effects. Because they’re receiving a lower dose of the vaccine and are less likely to get myocarditis due to their developing immune systems.
For those who are 12 and above and have experienced myocarditis after the second dose of the vaccine, their symptoms are usually mild and short-lived, such as shortness of breath and chest pain. They resolve after a couple of days.
4. Dose of the Covid Pfizer vaccine
Image courtesy: iStock
Kids who fall in the age group of 5-11 years will receive about a third of the dose as compared to those 12 and older – 10 micrograms compared to the 30 micrograms adults and teens receive. The smaller doses will be distributed with smaller needles and it will be easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer the vaccine to younger kids.
Experts say that current studies are on to see if a lower dose may eventually be appropriate for adults as well.
Children aged 5-11 years will receive two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart. They will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they are given their second jab.
5. Where can kids get their jabs?
Once your kids are officially eligible, you can sign them up for vaccination which is being handled by the local government units (LGU).
Unlike the vaccine rollout for adults, where the priority was on high-risk groups, all kids ages 5 to 11 will be eligible to get the dose.
“Unlike for the 12- to 17-year-olds, where the ones with comorbidities were prioritized, we want to expedite vaccination, so we will allow [children] with and without comorbidities to get vaccinated at the same time,” said the Department of Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.
However, parents of children with comorbidities are still required to present a medical certificate.
6. Younger kids should take both doses
Several studies conducted in adults show that the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t offer the same protection after just one shot.
According to studies, just one dose of the Pfizer vaccine was only 30% effective against the Delta variant specifically.
Llyod mentions that both doses are necessary to get immunity and therefore, full vaccination for all ages is recommended.
7. Kids with underlying medical conditions shouldn’t skip their doses
Are the comorbidities of kids taken into consideration when the clinical trials were done?
The Pfizer trial for ages 5-11 years didn’t exclude kids suffering from allergies, asthma, or any other comorbidities, like obesity, congenital heart disease, among others.
Doctors don’t recommend skipping vaccination because of any underlying medical condition.
Jesse Hansen, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist says that vaccination is all the more important for kids who are immunocompromised in any way.
8. When parents should consult doctors
There are some kids who are getting specific medications that may impact their immune response and make the vaccine less effective.
These families need to have conversations with their care teams as they plan to get their kids vaccinated.
Kids who are preparing for surgery should also consult their doctors on the best timing to get the vaccine. Experts recommend that kids with a history of any severe allergic reaction should consult with their provider.
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9. How long should kids who have had COVID-19 wait to get vaccinated?
Kids can get vaccinated as soon as they feel better and have no symptoms, and are also done with any required quarantine.
“It’s beneficial for kids to get vaccinated after having coronavirus and I wouldn’t recommend waiting longer than a couple of months,” said Dr. Lloyd.
He further explains that no harmful viral particles will be shed from those who got the COVID vaccine. So, parents need not worry as there are no live viruses used in the COVID-19 vaccine.
10. How to prepare kids before their doses?
Some kids may be scared of needles, so as parents you can use child-friendly language to talk to them and explain why getting a shot is important not only for them but also for people around them.
Similarly, you can also use various distractions like a video on the iPad or mobile phone. Assure them that the needle prick will just be like a poke. And that you will be there with them all throughout the process.
11. Should kids still mask up after getting both their doses?
The recommendations may vary depending on how prevalent the virus is in the community. At present, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC recommend that kids over the age of 3 wear masks in public places.
12. Do healthy kids need to get their vaccine?
Even though children are at low risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Unfortunately, there are some who do get hospitalized and their condition might turn fatal.
According to the federal data, ever since the start of the pandemic, over 1.9 million children aged 5-11 years have been infected, and there have been 94 deaths.
There are some kids who are also experiencing other issues due to MIS-C and long-haul symptoms. Parents, therefore, need to remember that while their child’s risk of complications is low. Vaccination is a simple way to protect children from COVID risks and also at the same time prevent the development of new variants.
Image courtesy: iStock
Parents’ Guide on Pfizer Covid vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 in the Philippines
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire announced that the vaccination for minors ages 5 to 11 will start on February 4, 2022 in 32 vaccination sites.
The vaccines from Pfizer BioNTech to be administered to children aged 5 to 11 will have a lower dosage and lower concentration compared to the vaccine given to youths aged 12 to 17.
According to Vergeire, parents can already register their kids for vaccination in their respected LGUs. Upon registering, parents will get a notification via text from the local government with a reference number that you would need to present. The parent or legal guardian should accompany their child to the vaccination site.
Aside from the text notification, Cabotaje presented a list of documents that you need to prepare for your child’s vaccination:
- Proofs of relationship (e.g. birth certificate)
- Valid ID of child, with picture
- Valid ID of parent or guardian, with picture
- Medical certificate, if with comorbidities
Getting your kids vaccinated will give you and your child peace of mind to return to more typical activities. Like face-to-face classes, and taking part in extracurricular activities. However, even after the Covid Pfizer vaccine for kids under 12 starts. It is still important to follow health protocols, maintain social distancing and avoid crowded places.
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore.
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