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5 Things to Emphasize about the COVID-19 Vaccine and Children

November 12, 2021

Today, Dr. Denise Johnson, Pennsylvania’s physician general, hosted an online discussion about the COVID-19 vaccine and children.

The event, “Vax Facts: Facts about Pediatric Vaccines,” is the latest in a series from the state providing information about COVID-19 vaccines. Earlier this month, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for emergency use in children between 5 and 11, allowing the rollout in the pediatric population to begin across the nation.

“We recommend that children get this vaccine,” Dr. Johnson said during the online event. “We know that it’s the best protection against COVID. It’s the best tool that we have to get our lives back and to keep kids in school learning.”

Dr. Johnson was joined by Dr. Trude Haecker, MD, FAAP, president of the Pennsylvania chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Swathi Gowtham, MD, FAAAP, a board-certified and fellowship-trained specialist in pediatric infectious diseases.

The physicians highlighted the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine for children to prevent COVID-19 infection. While most pediatric cases of COVID-19 are not severe, there are still risks associated with contracting the virus. The vaccine helps to significantly reduce those risks, they noted.

Here are five things to emphasize about the COVID-19 vaccine and children:

How it works:  The available mRNA vaccines train your body to fight against the virus before you are exposed to COVID-19

By the numbers:  About 6.3 million children have tested positive for COVID-19, representing about 17 percent of all cases in the U.S. During the week of October 14–21, children accounted for about 25 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Dr. Johnson said

A thorough review:  Federal regulatory agencies conducted an extensive review of the available evidence before authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use in children between ages 5 and 11

Who’s eligible?:  Everyone 5 and older is eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The pediatric vaccine is given to children between 5 and 11. It is a smaller dose than the one given to people 12 and older

Birthday cutoffs:  The dosage is based on age. People who are 11 should receive the pediatric dose, and those 12 and older should receive the larger dose. Research is underway to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for younger populations, but it has not been authorized for children younger than 5

Eligible residents are encouraged to get the vaccine, even if they previously contracted COVID-19, the physicians noted. The vaccine offers superior protection against infection when compared to natural immunity alone.

HAP strongly encourages people with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine to contact their health care provider for more information. Information about appointments in your community is available online.

HAP will continue to monitor the latest COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members. The full video from today’s program and additional resources can be found at Facebook and online