Questions answered about COVID-19 vaccines for kids and teens

“The vaccine is so incredibly effective. It’s one of the safest vaccines we’ve ever seen.”

NS. PETERSBURG, Florida — The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote a letter to the FDA commissioner a few days ago, urging leaders to “work aggressively to authorize safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years of age. ”

According to the CDC, only 32 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds are fully vaccinated. The major concern is the rising COVID-19 cases among children with the delta variant. On Wednesday, 19 children were admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg with COVID-19, 11 children are in the ICU.

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Juan Dumois addressed the concerns parents may have about vaccinating 12 to 17 year olds. One of the biggest are the potential long-term health effects. He says children have been getting routine vaccinations since the 1950s and 1960s.

“What we’ve learned about side effects is that the side effects of most vaccines occur within a few months of the vaccine. We generally don’t see side effects from these vaccines 5 years later,” said Dr. dumois.

And as for short-term or infrequent side effects that have been reported, such as myocarditis or swelling of the heart, he says, “The chances of myocarditis are so rare. A Florida teen is at least three times more likely to die in a car accident than to get myocarditis, so families who don’t give their kids vaccines because of myocarditis, shouldn’t leave their kids in the car either.”

dr. Dumois says the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the safest vaccines they’ve ever seen and the effects of COVID-19 on a child could be worse than you can imagine. While hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are still rare in children, he says it’s not rare when it happens to your child.

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