COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects:
- Many parents have been concerned about their children being ill since the pandemic shut down offices and schools across the country in March 2020. Even after some progress, we’re still dealing with similar concerns more than a year later.
- Part of the reason the epidemic persists is that we do not yet have immunizations for everyone. Part of it is also due to vaccine reluctance.
- Children are not “little grownups,” and they react differently to illness, medication, and immunizations, so it’s natural for parents to be concerned.
However, there are many stories about COVID-19, particularly about the negative effects of vaccines, so it’s critical to dispel any misconceptions and myths. Here’s what you should know:
COVID-19 and Children
While many children do not develop as severe cases of COVID-19 as adults — and many may be asymptomatic — this does not mean they cannot obtain COVID-19. In reality, there have been over 6 million instances of COVID-19 in children since the epidemic began in October 2021. Children accounted for 26.7 percent of reported weekly cases in the last week of September 2021 or more than one in every four.
School-aged children between the ages of 5 and 17, as well as children in daycare, may be at a higher risk of developing COVID-19 than other children since they are more likely to be exposed to it on a daily basis. This varies, of course, and may be influenced by the school’s regulations. According to one study, if a school does not require students to wear masks, they are 3.5 times more likely to have a COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while just 1 to 2 percent of all child instances have resulted in children being hospitalized (at least in states that are actively reporting on cases), 1 in 3 of those children who have been hospitalized have required intensive care (CDC).
Ventilators, or machines that accomplish the effort of breathing for you by manually pumping air into and out of your body, are frequently used in intensive care. Babies under the age of one tend to have the highest risk of having severe symptoms, as do children with underlying diseases such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, or immunocompromised conditions, who are already at a higher risk of getting COVID-19.
However, hospitalization rates for children aged 0 to 4 years increased tenfold from June to August 2021. Overall, hospitalization rates for children and adolescents under the age of 18 increased fivefold, with rates among the unvaccinated being ten times higher than those among the fully vaccinated. This roughly corresponds to the emergence of the Delta variation.
COVID-19 can also kill children, though the American Academy of Pediatrics does not believe it is frequent. Children account for less than 1% of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Children, like adults, can transmit SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, even when they are asymptomatic.
COVID-19 vaccinations are now available for children
As of the time of writing, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was accessible for children aged 12 and up. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completely approved it for children and adults aged 16 and above, and it has emergency use authorization (EUA) for children aged 12 to 15.
Clinical trials for children aged 6 months to 11 years are now underway. The one for children aged 5 to 11 is finished, with data from phases two and three indicating that the vaccination is safe and effective. In reality, Pfizer submitted preliminary data to the FDA for this age group in September 2021 and requested emergency use authorization the following month. Johnson & Johnson is researching vaccine use in adolescents, whereas Moderna is conducting vaccination clinical studies for children and adolescents.
What are the most common side effects that my child could get as a result of the vaccine?
Not everyone experiences adverse effects, and some children do not experience any at all. However, if your child has side effects, they will be comparable to those found in adults. These are some of the possible negative effects:
- soreness at the injection site
- muscle aches
These adverse effects are usually transient and should subside within 48 hours.
Are there more serious side effects?
Since April 2021, two additional, extremely unusual adverse effects have been reported: myocarditis and pericarditis. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle or myocardium, that can impair the heart’s ability to circulate blood throughout the body.
Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium, a two-layered sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart. These two layers are always separated by a tiny quantity of fluid to avoid friction, but when those layers become inflamed, it can cause chest pain.
These illnesses are distinguished by the following symptoms:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations
These uncommon side effects are more common in men, particularly teenage and early adult men. However, Poinsette warns that “there is a larger risk of myocarditis with COVID-19 disease compared to COVID-19 immunization.”
According to one study, myocarditis occurs in up to 450 out of every million COVID-19 instances but only about 76 out of every million vaccine recipients. It’s crucial to remember that this research is still in preprint, which means it hasn’t been peer-reviewed and shouldn’t be used as the foundation for clinical recommendations.
Should I give my child a pain reliever?
You can give your child pain medication following the COVID-19 immunization if they are experiencing adverse effects such as discomfort or pains. But, according to Poinsette, “there is no need to pre-treat with a pain reliever.” “There is no proof that pretreatment reduces negative effects.”
If side effects exist, and the illness is typically mild in children, why vaccinate my child at all?
“Vaccination is critical in halting the pandemic tide,” Poinsette says. “Even youngsters with mild sickness spread it to others.” Children who have not been immunized are likewise at risk for significant COVID-19 sickness, even though their risk is lower than in adults and they do not have an underlying medical condition.
According to the CDC, teenagers aged 12 to 17 who have not been vaccinated have a tenfold higher rate of hospitalization than those who have been vaccinated.
The FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for everyone 16 and older on August 23, 2021, since it is both safe and effective at preventing the coronavirus infection that causes COVID-19. The FDA also granted emergency use authorization for children aged 12 to 15 because clinical trial data demonstrated that the vaccination was safe and effective.
So far, millions of Americans have received these immunizations, which have helped protect them against serious infection, hospitalization, and death. Vaccines are the most powerful instrument for truly ending the pandemic and keeping people safe.
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