kids and covid

Pediatrician, Mother Discuss Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine for Small Children

With newfound FDA approval and CDC recommendation for children under 5 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a local doctor speaks to parent concerns

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While vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years continue to be recommended by the CDC, many parents still have apprehensions about the decision to take their small children in for a first dose.

Due to the newness of the vaccine and the obscurity of side effects young kids can develop, some parents have chosen not to rush to local vaccination centers or pharmacies.

Many South Florida doctors agree that the concern is valid, but encourage patients to educate themselves on the safety of the vaccine and act accordingly.

Kings Bay Pediatrics' Dr. Danielle Squires hopes to ease parent hesitation with the knowledge that administering COVID-19 vaccines to kids is not a new idea.

"It's important to remember as a parent when you look at this vaccine, we have great experience," said Dr. Squires. "We have millions upon millions of kids in just the age group above who've received this vaccine since the fall."

In addition, Dr. Squires discusses the "minimal" side effect profile that "has been studied and turned over by all the experts."

"The side effects are mild symptoms—any sore arm, headache, fatigue, fever," she said. "The vaccine itself should work its way out of your system within a few days, and side effects pass fairly quickly."

More concerning than the mild symptoms that may occur, Dr. Squires said, are the post-COVID-19 conditions that can be felt by kids in the younger age ranges.

"We have kids sometimes have very, very mild illness from COVID, and then go on to suffer from long haul COVID," she said.

Among these long-term side effects are brain fog, headaches, decreased issues, and even more severe secondary issues such as pneumonia and multi-system inflammatory syndrome.

To avoid such complications, Dr. Squires encourages parents to take their kids for a first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine — and to do so soon to achieve efficacy before the next school year begins.

"As a mom in this age group, we felt left behind. The rest of the world got vaccinated and were able to do more and feel more comfortable taking on risk," she said. "Those of us who have young children felt that we still need to continue to protect them as much as we can, and this is our opportunity now."

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