The end of 2020 came with the best possible news – development, approval and start of vaccinations against COVID-19. And while the county starts implementing a plan for widespread vaccinations, that plan – so far – does not include children, at least on a large scale. main reason is that children are not the population most at risk from the COVID-19 virus, although they do get infected and suffer severe symptoms. As of early December, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that over 1.4 million, or 12 percent of all cases, were of children, with over 133 deaths.
With children increasingly being sent back to schools, parents must be up-to-date on everything surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines specifically for children and when a widescale program to vaccinate them will be implemented. As of right now, there is serious doubt about whether vaccines will be available for children before the start of the next school year, but parents still must be at the ready.
Testing of vaccines on children
Although vaccine development for adults took place at unprecedented speeds, testing only recently started on children. Pfizer’s vaccine started testing on children in October, while Moderna’s was slated for December. But even those vaccines were for children 12 and older. Testing for infants, toddlers and other young kids has still not started on a wide scale.
Will they be safe?
So far, the COVID-19 vaccines have shown few safety concerns for adults, but since the testing with children has just begin, parents will need to follow the science to see whether that holds for their kids. There are always possible side effects of vaccines, according to the Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC). Because kids often have stronger immune systems than adults, temporary reaction to vaccines can be stronger. That could mean more pain and swelling near the injection area for kids as opposed to adults and might make them more susceptible to a low-grade fever, although that is not unlike other safe vaccines. If and when the vaccines are approved for children, parents shouldn’t panic if these symptoms appear and get guidance from their doctors.
Do Our Children Even Need the COVID-19 Vaccines?
Vaccines awaken all kinds of conversations among parents, but the established ones for diphtheria, tetanus, Polio, Measles, mumps, rubella, Chickenpox and hepatitis B are have been proven to be safe and provide huge benefits for society. If the COVID-19 vaccines are shown to have similar results for children as they have for adults, then they should be part of the overall effort to combat the pandemic. Just vaccinating adults will likely not be enough to stem the tide of the pandemic as a large unvaccinated segment of the population, in this case children, could be a hiding ground for the virus, which will eventually spread it to others.
What do parents do until vaccines are ready?
Parents need to insist that their children continue to do the things that have been proven to reduce the spread of the virus, including wear masks in public, social distance and wash their hands with soap often. Parents also need to continue to get their kids vaccinated for other viruses and diseases as our health care system is overtaxed currently with little relief in the near future. They should also focus on the social emotional and mental effects resulting from isolation and other restrictions imposed on families.