the COVID-19 vaccine in younger kids: worth the wait
As parents of younger children, we have felt helpless over the last few months as the COVID-19 vaccine became readily available for adults, followed by individuals 12-years-old and older. While masking and social distancing are great tools to combat the spread of the virus, parents are desperate for a vaccine for their kiddos to give an extra layer of protection.
While it may be tempting to try and get a vaccine for your tween or child, it’s critically important to note that the current vaccinations for COVID-19 have not been approved for this younger age group.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are currently undergoing vaccine clinical trials for children ages 5 to 11, with the hope of getting Emergency Use Authorization by late fall or early winter. There will be a separate evaluation for children ages 2 to 5, with babies six months to 2 years old in the final group. While the recipe for the vaccine will remain essentially the same as the vaccine currently being administered to adults, the dosage will likely change to accommodate smaller children.
Children are not small adults. And, their immune systems respond differently to medications and vaccines than an adult’s immune system. According to Dr. Pedro Piedra, professor of molecular virology and microbiology and of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, vaccine dosage is based on factors like weight, age and how the vaccine moves through the body. If a dose is too low, it risks being ineffective. If it’s too high, it could cause unwanted side effects.
The best thing we can do for our kids is to wait.
And, while we wait for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use of the vaccine in young children, we can help our children by getting vaccinated ourselves. By getting vaccinated, we can help stop the spread of this virus and act as another layer of protection for our children.