Now that children ages 12 to 15 are eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, some parents have many questions. The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that’s perfectly understandable.
“It’s absolutely okay,” said Dr. Lee Beers. “As parents, our job is to know and understand medical care for our children, so it’s okay to have questions.”
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Beers says pediatricians report that the kids themselves are most often excited to get the vaccine because they have been putting off so much in the past year.
She says the vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in that age group. Some may worry that the shot was rushed, but Beers says it was rushed red tape. She says the science and testing itself followed prudent and appropriate protocols.
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Beers says children can experience the same kinds of side effects as adults, including fatigue and pain at the injection site, and it’s important to communicate with them so they know what to expect.
She says it’s important to protect your child to prevent them from spreading the virus, as well as serious complications in children. Those cases are rare, but in the US, about 300 children have died from COVID, Beers said.
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“It’s important to talk to them about why you think the vaccine is important to them, to really help protect them and keep them safe so they can get back to their normal activities and do so safely and without fear” , she said. “And you can assure them it’s no different from any other shot.”
For answers to many frequently asked questions about the vaccine, the American Academy of Pediatrics has set up a dedicated section on its website.
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Beers also encourages parents to contact their child’s pediatrician if they have any questions.