February 1, 2022

Ever since the COVID-19 vaccines came out in December 2020, they have become available to a wider range of people.

It started with healthcare workers, and now, young children can receive their COVID-19 vaccines. It is normal for parents to be wary about letting their child receive this new vaccine, but healthcare professionals say there is nothing to be worried about.

Here’s what we know now:

  • Children ages five and up can receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. Children ages 12-17 can receive a Pfizer booster shot at least five months after their first series of vaccinations.The booster shot is important for promoting the first shots’ effectiveness, which typically wears down five-to-six months after your most recent Pfizer or Moderna shot (a booster shot is recommended two months after a Johnson & Johnson shot).
  • Doctors and nurses everywhere recommend getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Take it from Kendall Connick, a nurse practitioner at Sprout Pediatrics in Metairie. “Making sure your child is vaccinated will aid in herd immunity for the protection of more vulnerable people who cannot receive the vaccine,” she says. “The vaccine will also lessen the severity of the disease should you or your child contract it.” 
  • The vaccines are effective. This fact might make you raise your eyebrows, especially considering the state’s drastic increase of COVID-19 cases since the Omicron variant, but it’s important to remember that the vaccines do not get rid of the virus entirely. “Even though we are seeing a rise in COVID-19 numbers, most patients are not requiring hospitalization,” says Connick. “Also, the symptoms associated with the virus are much milder than the previous variant’s.” 
  • The vaccines are safe. In fact, the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 outweigh any risks. All COVID-19 vaccinations are CDC, FDA, and EUA (emergency use authorization) approved. Serious side effects such as allergic reactions, blood clots, and myocardosis are extremely rare and can be resolved. Common side effects include fever along with redness, swelling, and soreness at the injection site, all of which can last up to 48 hours. These common side effects are normal, as it means your body is actively building protection against the virus. Your child cannot contract the virus after his or her vaccinations, even though the possible side effects mimic those of COVID-19. To understand how vaccines work, you can easily do some quick research on mRNA vaccinations and how our bodies process them.
  • If your child tests positive for COVID-19, he or she is likely to have milder symptoms, especially if they have received their vaccinations. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is concerning, but nothing to panic about because its symptoms are less severe in comparison to what we have observed. “In children, Omicron typically presents itself with fever, respiratory symptoms, sore throat, and mild stomach aches along with vomiting and/or diarrhea,” says Connick. 
  • COVID-19 vaccines are free! All you have to do is go online and schedule an appointment at any local pharmacy such as Walgreens or CVS. Don’t forget to bring your vaccine card if it is not your first time getting vaccinated.

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