By Karen Stokes
COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children ages 5-11. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s vaccine for children on Nov 2. With this development, parents now need to do the research and make decisions on whether or not to vaccinate their children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 5 million children under 18 have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic started.
Almost 45 million people overall have tested positive across the country.
For the week ending Nov. 18, children were 25.1% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
With the revelation of these recent statistics, it’s understandable why parents would be concerned.
Joelle Camble is one of those parents. Camble is a busy parent that works, attends college, is a mother of three and believes health is a priority for her family. Her son Josiah is the oldest at 5 years old, and she made the decision to have him vaccinated.
“It was important to me because my mom and I got vaccinated,” Camble said. “I knew he would be exposed to more children (at school). Because I was vaccinated, I trusted it and I wanted him to be vaccinated as well.”
At the school Josiah attends, there is no vaccine mandate. They do wear masks but the students aren’t necessarily socially distanced.
Josiah received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Meijer Pharmacy last week.
“It hurt a little, then it didn’t,” Josiah said.
Afterwards the family went to get ice cream.
An additional perk to getting the vaccine is that Camble’s family members will be coming to town for the holidays after their traditional family gatherings were interrupted due to the pandemic.
While all children are capable of getting the virus that causes COVID-19, they don’t become sick as often as adults. Most children have mild symptoms or no symptoms.
However, some children become severely ill with COVID-19. They might need to be hospitalized, treated in the intensive care unit or placed on a ventilator to help them breathe, according to the CDC.
Children with underlying medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and asthma are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with children without underlying medical conditions.
According to the FDA, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5 through 11. The vaccine safety and efficacy were studied in 3,100 children who received the vaccine. No serious side effects were reported in the study.
“Do your research on the vaccine because a child’s immune system is different from an adults,” Camble said. “I would take my precautions with getting the vaccine and due to the side effects, that can happen from all the different cases of COVID, I would do anything I can to prevent a child from getting COVID.”
You can help protect your family and slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community by getting yourself and your children ages 5 and older vaccinated against COVID-19.