COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids 5-11
Parents across the country are breathing a sigh of relief that a COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for emergency use in kids aged 5-11. We understand how exciting it is. It’s true that, overall, children have seen less severe cases of COVID-19 than adults, but that doesn’t mean they are not at risk. The question for any medical intervention should never be whether it is perfect, but rather does the benefit of the treatment outweigh the risks. In this case, multiple agencies with the most qualified professionals across the United States have almost unanimously agreed that yes, COVID-19 poses much more of a risk to our children than vaccination.
There have been 1.9 million COVID-19 cases in U.S. children ages 5-11
We know that children 5-11 are still at risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this age group has reported over 1.9 million cases and over 8,300 hospitalizations in the U.S. We also know children can get post-COVID conditions, such as long COVID or multi-inflammatory tissue syndrome (MIS-C). In addition, it’s important we keep our kids in school. The vaccine helps prevent COVID-19 infection or exposure, which then means less time out of the classroom to quarantine or isolate.
The COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 has a 90.9% lab-confirmed efficacy
After reviewing all the data on the vaccine, the committees found that efficacy against symptomatic lab-confirmed COVID-19 was 90.9%. No deaths occurred, and serious adverse events were uncommon. In fact, none were judged to be related to vaccination. For example, one serious adverse event that happened during the study is that a child swallowed a penny. This may sound odd to include, but it is a good reminder that the trial is so thorough that every adverse event is reported regardless of whether it seems connected to the vaccine. The most common initial side effects included pain at the injection site, fatigue, and headache.
Vaccination of children also has benefits for the entire community. By increasing the overall immunization rate in our community, overall cases could decline and there is less chance for a new variant to emerge - one that could be more harmful to children. This comparison of benefits and risks is an important tool that health professionals have used to recommend the vaccine’s authorization.
Still Have Questions or Concerns?
If you have more questions or concerns about vaccinating your child, we encourage you to have a discussion with their pediatrician. We understand that any medical decision for your child can feel stressful. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, check out this blog post for tips to help you through the decision process. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, that’s great too! Check out vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov or srhd.org to find upcoming clinics and appointments.