With the Covid-19 vaccine now available for children 12 years of age and up, there are many questions parents have regarding how the vaccine works, the types of vaccines there are, and how safe and effective the vaccine is. The following is a list of answers to the common Covid-19 vaccine questions that parents may have:
How does the vaccine work?
Similar to many of the other vaccines your child has received throughout their life, the Covid-19 vaccine is a shot that teaches the immune system to produce antibodies that can fight against the virus. After your child is vaccinated they have a smaller chance of contracting Covid-19. Even if your child does become infected with the Covid-19 virus, they have a lower risk of becoming as sick as they would if they did not have the vaccine.
Please be mindful that it may take up to 2 weeks (after receiving the second dose of the vaccine), for the body to build immunity against the Covid-19 virus. When it comes to the one-dose vaccine, it may take anywhere between 2-4 weeks to build immunity against the Covid-19 virus.
What types of vaccines are there?
There are currently three different vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Two of these vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) require two doses, while Johnson & Johnson requires only one dose. Although the FDA temporarily paused the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports of possible ties to blood clots, they have lifted the pause after receiving data that the chance of developing blood clots is very low. The FDA is continuing to monitor the risk of blood clots, however.
Currently, the vaccine is available to children and teenagers 12 years of age and up. Parents should know that the vaccine that is being administered to children does not contain live or dead parts of the virus. Instead, the vaccine is made of nucleic acids that serve as the building blocks of our cells. Once the nucleic acids do their job, they fall apart and leave the body.
Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe for children?
Initially, clinical trials have proven that the Covid-19 vaccine is remarkably safe for adults and teens 16 years of age and up. Since then, the FDA has extended this authorization to children 12 years of age and up after receiving additional safety data. Currently, clinical trials are underway for children younger than 12 years old and even as young as 6 months old. Vaccines continue to be monitored as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “Covid-19 vaccines will have the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.”
How effective is the Covid-19 vaccine?
Research and data have shown that Covid-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing individuals from contracting the Covid-19 virus. Remember, although there is a risk of getting Covid-19 after getting the vaccine, the side effects that you or your child may experience will be severely diminished compared to an individual who may not have the vaccine. With trials and data still underway, scientists are still unsure about how long the vaccine will protect people for but this will become more clear as testing and data continue to be released.
Covid-19 side effects
Although Covid-19 vaccines are safe, they do pose certain short-term side effects as with any other vaccine available. Clinical trials have proven that many children had no side effects, and some children had side effects similar to those that were reported by adults. These side effects include:
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, contact their pediatrician immediately.
The office of Dr. Alfonso J. Henriquez is now offering Covid-19 vaccines for children 12 years of age and up. If you would like to schedule your child’s vaccine appointment, please call our office at 561-275-7100.