Navigating Your Questions About Vaccinating Kids
November 10, 2021 • 3 minute read • Newsroom
On November 2, 2021, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for children ages 5 and older. This applies to approximately 28 million children in the United States. Dosages are administered based upon age, not size or weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides additional details here.
“The risk of severe disease or complications due to COVID‑19 is higher than any potential risks posed by the vaccine – even for kids,” Jeffrey Kahn, director of Infectious Disease at Children’s Health and professor at UT Southwestern, said. “Given this, and the benefits of vaccination, I hope parents will see the importance of vaccinating their children.”
The pediatric version of the vaccine will be administered by a variety of providers, including pediatrician’s offices, hospitals and medical practices; pharmacies; and state and local public health departments. Talk to your child’s pediatrician or care provider about options available to you. To find a COVID-19 vaccine, visit vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations.
COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone at no cost. According to the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Agreement, providers administering COVID-19 vaccines cannot charge you for a vaccine or charge you directly for any administration fees, copays or coinsurance. They also cannot deny COVID-19 vaccination to anyone based on their health coverage status.
Because the vaccine is distributed through so many different organizations across the country, parents should always check first to confirm that there will be no expenses related to the administration of the vaccine.
Although the government has not mandated that employers provide time off for parents to get their children vaccinated, the CDC has recommended that employers do not require a doctor’s note or proof of visit for vaccinations or related sick time for adults or children of any age.
To help alleviate concerns, talk to your pediatrician or pharmacist about any questions that you or your child may have. When it’s time for the appointment, plan ahead to help make the experience easier. Bringing along a favorite stuffed animal, blanket or toy can help distract and comfort your child.
This video from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org blog shares tips for talking with your child about how the vaccine works to protect them. For children who enjoy Sesame Street, here are links to videos featuring the characters asking questions and talking about being vaccinated. For example, here’s Big Bird talking about his fears about the vaccine. Parents and healthcare providers can find more resources from Sesame Street here.
Yes. Your child can receive both vaccinations at the same time. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the vaccines be administered in different injection sites. Learn more about the AAP recommendations here.
Children are still at risk of contracting COVID-19 while they wait. This article from Healthline shares some considerations for parents and caregivers regarding which dose is most appropriate for their child. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician or local pharmacist about the best approach for your child.
Children with special healthcare needs should continue to receive all recommended vaccines. The CDC recommends the vaccine for all children ages 5-11. Talk with your doctor about any health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, heart conditions or obesity, that may put your child at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 and about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Some adolescents and teens who already received two doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and have weakened immune systems can now get a third dose of vaccine. Learn more here.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center experts note there is zero scientifically based evidence that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility. The American College of Gynecology recommends that women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding get the vaccine when they become eligible.
For the most up-to-date information and resources on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit VaccinateYourFamily.org.
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