Our young patients receive the Covid-19 vaccine
As we approach the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to spending time with our loved ones in settings that weren’t possible last year. However, with the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, persistence of the Delta variant, and emergence of the Omicron variant there is some introduced uncertainty about how we can safely celebrate. In all likelihood, surges and COVID-19 variants will and are becoming our new normal, and we need to navigate the balance between safety and our need for personal fulfillment through interactions with loved ones. As workforce members and community members, it is important that we do our part to protect each other from COVID-19, and vaccinating our children is an important way to do this. Nearly 20% of the US population is under age 18, and we cannot achieve sufficient heard immunity to control the pandemic without including children and youth in our vaccination efforts.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections for children 5 years and older, and vaccination (and now boosters) are our best protection from COVID-19 disease and complications in children. Thankfully, there have been very few adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccination in children – of note, no case of myocarditis has been identified in the 5-11 age group. This is in stark contrast to infection with COVID-19 including risk of transmission from children to at-risk adults, as well as the incidence of the dangerous MIS-C syndrome in children, and prolonged symptoms (or Long COVID), which can both be devastating to families and communities. While the benefits of vaccination are clear, there is an additional bonus – vaccinated children are not required to quarantine (which often requires parents to miss work as well) when exposed to a COVID+ classmate, teammate, or family member.
Here is what you can do to protect your children (along with your entire family and our patients) during the holiday season:
- Get your 5-15 year old vaccinated
- Boost your 16- and 17-year olds when 6 months have passed since their second dose – newly recommended by CDC. AND
- Boost yourselves!
This will help us all safely enjoy the season and lead us closer to the in-person activities we love. If we all do our part, we all benefit, including our kids.
Dr. McCoy-Wilson is a practicing Pediatrician at Olive View UCLA Medical Center and Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA School of Medicine.