Last Tuesday, coronavirus vaccines became available for millions of children across the country. For parents who’ve been eager to protect their children, it marked the end of a long wait. However, a poll, the Kaiser Family Foundation Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor, released last month, found that not all parents are on board with vaccinating their children. Only 18% of parents with children younger than 5 said they would vaccinate them immediately, whereas 38% want to see how the vaccine works in other children, and 27% said they would “definitely not” have their children vaccinated.
Some parents are worried about the safety of the vaccines despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) saying they are not only safe but also highly effective. Per the CDC, there were thousands of children in the studies, and the most common side effects were pain in the area where the shot was given, loss of appetite, sleepiness, irritability, crying, and swollen lymph nodes. The AAP also points out that a “small number of vaccinated children get fever — but very few get high fever. Usually, it lasts only a day or two.”
Both organizations recommend that if parents have any concerns, they should speak to their child’s pediatrician. Parents should also inform their provider if their child has any allergies or certain conditions, like myocarditis, pericarditis, or a bleeding disorder. Another vital thing to mention would be if your child is immunocompromised or on medication that impacts the immune system.
There have been a few challenges for parents when it comes to getting the shots. One reason is that some pediatricians aren’t planning on ordering it because the Covid-19 vaccine comes in a multi-dose vial. So if they give a shot, they’ve got to give nine more within 12 hours or discard the remaining vial. For pharmacies, the CDC estimates that 10% of them will vaccinate the new age group because many aren’t comfortable vaccinating the younger kids. Currently, most pharmacies can vaccinate children down to the age of three.
If you would like to have your child vaccinated and your provider isn’t giving them, check vaccines.gov Another option is to check with your pharmacy or local health department.