COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 recently opened up, and that authorization opened up a variety of questions that parents have about getting their kids vaccinated. Earlier we spoke with local pediatrician, Dr. Gary Kirkilas, about what parents need to know regarding the vaccine and how best to prepare their kids for getting the shot.
How big is it to get children aged 5 to 11 vaccinated in the fight against COVID-19?
“It’s a really big deal, actually, if you think about the age group there, 5 to 11, that’s the age when kids start going to kindergarten. And if you think about school, you have multiple households of children spending a large amount of time together in close proximity indoors,” Kirkilas said. “It is sort of a perfect set up to pass the virus, and it is no surprise that we have about 24% of new cases of COVID are in kids. So having that 5 to 11 age bracket covered with a vaccine is tremendous and great news.”
Studies have shown that these vaccinations are 91% effective for preventing the virus in children. Of those participating in the study, only 3 children had breakthrough infection.
Kirkilas suggests children get their COVID-19 vaccine from their pediatrician.”I think we tend, as pediatricians, tend to know our patients better so I think that’s probably the best place is to get it right from your pediatrician,” he said.
He also added that if that is not an option for a child, a pharmacy is also an acceptable place to obtain the vaccine.
Kirkilas emphasized the importance of parents having a conversation with their children regarding getting the vaccine and how it is safe and effective.
The study done on children showed that the side effects of this vaccine were actually less in this age group than all other age groups but the most common side effects are fatigue and headache.