Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Health.
Do You Have Questions About The COVID-19 Vaccine For Children 5 and Up? We’ve Got Answers!
Following a rigorous review of the data and outcomes from clinical trials, the CDC has now recommended that all children ages 5 and up get the COVID-19 vaccine as it is available to them. As parents, you may have a lot of questions about the vaccine, how the virus impacts your child, and more. That’s okay, many people do!
Louisiana’s most recent COVID surge was fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant and had a devastating impact on Louisianans, including children. Since the beginning of August, 25% of all new COVID-19 cases in Louisiana were in children. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported 9 pediatric deaths tied to the fourth surge alone. A total of 18 children in Louisiana have died of COVID since the pandemic began.
First and foremost, parents are asking: Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for kids? Yes! The COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer, also called Cominarty, has been proven to be safe and effective for children ages 5 and up. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect kids from getting infected with COVID-19. As we know from other vaccines over the years, a vaccine goes through intensive testing before people can get it. Millions of U.S. kids have already received their safe and effective vaccine to protect themselves from severe illness or death caused by COVID-19.
Parents may be wondering: Are children at risk of getting COVID-19? Yes! At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a myth that COVID did not infect children. The Delta variant proved that myth wrong once and for all. As of November 1, at least 94 U.S. children ages 5 to 11 have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and 8,300 have become so sick they needed to be hospitalized, according to the FDA. In fact, COVID was the eighth-leading cause of death in the age group over the past year, after accidents, cancer, malformations, murder, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, and flu or pneumonia.
Moreover, some children that had only mild symptoms while infected with COVID-19 went on to develop multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a serious condition in which the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking otherwise healthy parts of the body. Children with MIS-C often become severely sick and require hospitalization. MIS-C is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 13. Since July 1 of this year, 107 cases of MIS-C have occurred in Louisiana children. (Nationally, by early October, 5,217 kids had come down with MIS-C, including 2,034 between 6 and 11, according to the CDC.)
On the other hand, the COVID-19 vaccine has shown to cause mild, short term side effects in children, including a sore arm, body aches, headache, a fever, or tiredness. These are signs that the immune system is responding to the vaccine and building immunity to the virus, and should only last a day or two.
As the temperatures drop and winter months draw closer, parents may be curious: Can kids get the COVID vaccine at the same time as their annual immunizations? Yes! In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports kids getting routine immunizations at the same time they get a COVID-19 vaccine, including the flu shot.
Getting your children vaccinated can help protect them against COVID-19, as well as reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission.
You may have other questions. And that’s okay too. Talk to your healthcare provider or your child’s pediatrician, or if you’d like to speak to a medical professional now, call the Department of Health’s COVID Vaccine Hotline at 855-453-0774.
To find out where to make an appointment for your child or to get your questions answered by a medical professional, just call 855-453-0774 or visit ldh.la.gov/kidsvax.