Ask The Pediatrician: Which Covid
by Dr. James D. Campbell, Mayo Clinic
Q: My daughter is about to turn 12. Which COVID-19 vaccine should she get?
A: The short answer: Your child should get the vaccine product that is recommended for their age.
Right now, the only COVID-19 vaccine available for children in the U.S. is the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for children 5 years and older. The COVID shot for kids 5 years to 11 years of age is a lower dose than the dose recommended for those 12 and older.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then recommended the vaccine for this age group.
You may wonder why it’s important to get the lower dose for younger kids. The reason is the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 was tested at the lower dose. This lower dose is what has been authorized and recommended.
Here are the doses of the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine, by age:
12 through 17 years: 30-microgram COVID-19 vaccine, two separate doses, given 21 days apart.
5 through 11 years: 10-microgram COVID-19 vaccine, two separate doses, given 21 days apart.
Under 5 years: A COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available and the doses have not been determined.
Children younger than 5 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, but children ages 6 months to 4 years are being closely studied. I’m eager to see the youngest children get vaccinated, as are many parents.
What Are The Benefits Of ‘mixing And Matching’ Covid
Individual choice in boosters means health care providers can make recommendations based on patients’ circumstances. A member of the CDC’s advisory panel, which meets prior to recommending a vaccine or booster, pointed out at a meeting about mixed boosters that allowing it could lead to fewer vaccine doses being wasted, if health care providers only have to open one bottle of vaccine for patients in the waiting room, for example. Hopefully, more flexibility with boosters will lead to an easier vaccination process in places that administer many doses at once, such as nursing homes. People may also opt for a different vaccine if they’re at higher risk for a rare side effect from a particular vaccine.
The bottom line? Mixing vaccines for a COVID-19 booster may be a great benefit to some people, but it ultimately depends on personal circumstances and what’s available.
Vaccines Approved For Children And Youth
Health Canada has authorized the following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for youth aged 12 and older:
- Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
People aged 12 to 17 may receive the same 2-dose schedule recommended for adults.
At this time, no COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in children under the age of 12 in Canada. Clinical trials are underway to determine if:
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in infants and children under 12
- younger children need smaller doses
Learn more about:
Recommended Reading: What Vaccines Are Necessary For Babies
How Will Vaccinating Children And Young People Affect The Pandemic
Malta has fully vaccinated 80% of its population one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and is now also vaccinating adolescents over the age of 12. There, the decision to vaccinate young people was shaped, among other factors, by the close-knit family structures in a country where adolescents often have frequent contact with their grandparents, says Pace. On a population level, vaccinated adolescents may result in a reduction in transmission to vulnerable older people, he says. Young people in Malta also often travel abroad for school, potentially importing coronavirus infections and variants from abroad, he adds.
Data show that children and particularly adolescents can play a significant part in coronavirus transmission, says Catherine Bennett, an epidemiologist at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. And concerns about transmission by children and adolescents are growing as new coronavirus variants emerge. Its possible that more-transmissible variants will develop a way to push through whatever it is in a young persons immune response that makes them more resistant to infection, says Bennett, making it all the more important that they are vaccinated.
Hopes of achieving herd immunity through immunization have waned, so countries need to do the best that they can to keep transmission low, she adds: You only need one poorly vaccinated population to generate global variants.
What If I Got Moderna
Similar to Pfizer, most Moderna recipients probably don’t have a need to choose a different booster, unless how quickly they can get an appointment is an issue.
There might be exceptions — if you had an allergic reaction to Moderna’s vaccine, for example, you should consult a doctor and choose a different vaccine for future shots. An early report on Canadian data also suggested Moderna might carry a higher risk of myocarditis, an uncommon side effect of the mRNA vaccines mostly seen in men under 30, compared to Pfizer. With this assumption, a man under 30 who originally received Moderna but is concerned about myocarditis may ask a health care provider about switching to Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer. But again, Moderna’s booster is a smaller dose than its original vaccine, which could be a factor in your decision.
Read more: Moderna COVID booster recommended for all adults. What to know
Read Also: Does Medicare Cover Shingrix Vaccine 2020
Your Childs Vaccination Schedule
Vaccines protect your child against serious diseases. Vaccines are most effective when they are given to your child at the right time.
Canadians should consult with their healthcare provider or public health authority to determine when they should visit, and learn about the measures that have been put in place to safely deliver immunization services during COVID-19.
Your childâs personalized vaccination schedule will tell you:
- when your child needs to be vaccinated in your province or territory
- which vaccine your child will receive and what the vaccine can protect them against
What Are The Side Effects For Kids
Children’s reported side effects are similar to the ones reported by adults, and last about as long . These side effects are normal and are signs that your child’s body is building the protection it needs. There is usually a little pain, redness and swelling at the point of injection. Your child might feel tired afterward or experience headaches, muscle pain, chills, a high temperature or nausea. Many kids experience no side effects at all.
Also Check: How Often Should You Get The Shingles Vaccine
Infant And Child Vaccines
Immunizations help prevent the spread of diseases and help keep Montanans of all ages healthy. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends vaccines for infants, children, adolescents, and adults. This webpage contains information and resources for parents/guardians and healthcare providers about the recommended vaccines for infants and children through age six.
Things To Know About Covid
Kids 5-11 are now eligible for Pfizers COVID vaccine. Pediatric experts share answers to parents questions as they consider vaccinating their child.
Its the pandemic milestone many families have been waiting for: a COVID-19 vaccine to protect younger kids.
Both the Federal Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have officially approved emergency authorization for kids ages 5-11 to receive Pfizer-BioNTechs COVID-19 vaccine.
The approval paves the way for roughly 28 million more kids to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination across the United States and comes at a pivotal moment with schools reopened and the highly contagious Delta variant affecting more children.
This is a critical step to ensuring that all K-12 school-aged kids have the chance to be protected from COVID as the Delta variant spreads and we head into winter season, said Elizabeth Lloyd, M.D., a pediatric infectious diseases expert at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Childrens Hospital.
It also comes after a peak of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among children in the U.S.
While kids risk of severe illness from the virus is still low, there have been over 500 pediatric deaths related to COVID-19 and over 40 additional deaths due to a rare but serious COVID-linked condition called multi-system inflammatory syndrome , according to the CDC.
Recommended Reading: How Often Can You Get The Meningitis Vaccine
Reasons Your Child Should Get The Covid
- Health & Wellness
With 80% of the adult population having received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, attention has shifted to how we can immunize school age children. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 years. This means that approximately 28 million children, or 8.5% of the US population, is now eligible to receive the vaccine. This is an opportunity for the country to catch up to vaccination goals and is a crucial step toward beating the pandemic.
Like adults and teens who contracted COVID-19, children can spread the disease when they are asymptomatic. In addition, although children may have milder symptoms when infected with COVID-19, there are still many cases of children getting severe lung infections and requiring hospitalization. Other complications, such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children , may require intensive care or result in long-lasting symptoms. And while children are less likely to have severe illness initially, they are susceptible to long COVID symptoms long after initially recovering from their illness.
Vaccinating your children can help protect them and your family and bring the pandemic to an end faster. Here are the top 5 reasons experts recommend vaccinating your children:
1. The COVID-19 vaccine can help prevent your children from getting COVID-19
2. It can help your family get back to a more normal life
Should My Child Receive Any Other Vaccines
The CPS recommends that all children over 6 months old get aflu shot each year. The vaccine is especially important for children less than 5 years of age, and for older children with chronic conditions who are at high risk of complications from the flu. The flu shot is also safe and highly recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Since infants less than 6 months of age cannot get the flu shot , antibodies against the flu are transferred to the baby from the mother before birth and through breast milk.
The CPS also urges all children and youth age 12 years and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
If travelling, speak to your doctor about vaccines that can protect your child.
Don’t Miss: Is Hepatitis B Vaccine Live
What’s The Rest Of The World Doing
The United States is already well into its rollout of the Pfizer vaccine for five to 11-year-olds, with US health authorities recommending vaccines for that age group in early November.
It’s estimated about 10 per cent of eligible children have already had their first dose.
Canada is not far behind, approving Pfizer for five to 11-year-olds and starting its rollout last week.
In Europe, the European Medicines Agency is recommending Pfizer’s vaccine be given to children between five and 11 years of age.
Different European countries are progressing at different paces, with Italy approving the vaccine last week and France approving it for high-risk children and those living with vulnerable people.
Germany is expected to begin offering jabs to children aged five to 11 early next year, around the same time as Australia.
Israel, Oman and Saudi Arabia have all approved Pfizer for children as young as five.
What Is The Flu Vaccine
This vaccine is available by shot or by nasal spray. It contains a version of a virus that looks like a virus. The nasal-spray vaccine contains live, but weakened viruses. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal-spray vaccine. The flu vaccine is given at the beginning of the flu season, usually in October or November.
The flu shot is safe for children 6 months of age and older. The nasal spray vaccine is safe for children 2 years of age and older. Flu viruses change from year to year. It is important for your child to get the vaccine each year so that he or she will be protected. Children are more likely to have complications from the flu, such as having to stay in the hospital or even dying.
Read Also: What Is The Chickenpox Vaccine Abbreviation
How The Vaccines Are Studied And Tested For Children And Youth
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were tested in youth through clinical trials that compared the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to a placebo. They also compared safety and effectiveness across different age groups. These studies:
- confirm the vaccines are safe for use in youth aged 12 to 17
- determine what doses are most effective for different age groups
In phase 3 clinical trials, the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were very effective at preventing COVID-19 with symptoms in youth aged 12 to 17.
Learn more about:
Although children and youth are less likely to get really sick from COVID-19, they can still:
- get sick from COVID-19
- be infected and not have any symptoms
- spread COVID-19 to others
- experience longer-term effects if they do get infected
Children and youth with certain underlying medical conditions may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines help the body fight off the virus. Once fully vaccinated, people who get infected with COVID-19 will likely have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Like adults, youth are well protected against severe illness 14 days after their second dose. Those who have already had COVID-19 may still get vaccinated to protect themselves from getting it again.
Millions of people aged 12 to 17 have received COVID-19 vaccines in Canada. High rates of vaccination coverage across the country is key to:
Learn more about:
Should My Child Get The Covid
As a board-certified pediatrician, I recommend getting your child vaccinated as soon as possible, even if they’ve had COVID-19 before. Doing so significantly lowers the risk of infection or reinfection and helps protect your child against variants of the virus.
Vaccination protects more than your child. It protects other people’s children. It protects the teachers and grandparents and babysitters and other adults in your child’s life. Vaccination is the single best way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Read Also: How To Get Certified To Give Vaccines
Recommended Immunizations For Children Ages 4 To 6 Years Old
The shots recommended between ages 4 and 6 are often called kindergarten vaccines because kids are often required to be up to date on their immunizations to start attending elementary school. No new vaccines are introduced at this time, but oftentimes vaccines are given as combinations.
For example, DTap and IPV can be given in a single shot. MMR and varicella vaccines can also be combined into a single immunization. These vaccines are just as effective when given together, and it cuts down on the number of shots kids need.
An overview of immunizations for kids ages 4 to 6 years old
- DTaP The fifth and final diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine is recommended when your child is between 4 and 6 years old.
- IPV The fourth and final poliovirus vaccine is recommended when your child is between 4 and 6 years old.
- MMR The second and final dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is also recommended when your child is between 4 and 6 years old.
- Varicella The second and final dose of the chickenpox vaccine is also recommended when your child is between 4 and 6 years old.
Will Children Need To Receive A Booster Vaccination In The Future
Right now, additional doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for people with compromised immune systems, who are in a high-risk age group for developing COVID-19 or who work in high-risk settings.
There is still research being collected on how long COVID-19 protection lasts with the vaccination. Watch for guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention .
Read Also: How Long Between Shingles Vaccines
Missed A Vaccine Why You Should Catch Up
If your child has missed any of their recommended vaccines or if you are unsure talk to your child’s pediatrician or healthcare provider as soon as possible. Then, schedule an appointment for your child to receive any on-time or catch up vaccines needed.
Although each vaccine has a recommended schedule for administration, in many cases, you can pick up where you left off or use a “catch up” vaccination schedule to keep your child protected. Children in certain high-risk groups may require an adjusted vaccine schedule. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about the best way to resume your child’s vaccinations and how to help your family stay on-target in the future.
Learn more about what CHOP is doing to provide care safely and on time while ensuring the ongoing health of your child and our communities at large beyond this current pandemic.
Are There Any Reasons Not To Vaccinate My Child Especially During The Covid
Yes. There are times when some children should not get certain vaccines or they should wait. For example, if your child has any severe, life-threatening allergies, theyve had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of vaccines, or theyre moderately or severely ill, their doctor may recommend not getting or delaying a specific vaccination.
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, you dont need to delay the immunizations or care your child needs unless of course you, your child or someone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
While staying on track with all immunizations is important, making sure your child has their annual flu shot will be especially important this year. As the pandemic continues, so too will the high amounts of time we spend at home and indoors where flu viruses can thrive during cold and dry winter weather. Flu shots are typically available starting in late August, and this year HealthPartners and Park Nicollet is offering both shot and FluMist options.
You May Like: How Much Are Animal Vaccinations