For several days already, many countries have been following the USA’s lead by opting for the introduction of a vaccine designed for children aged 5 to 12 years and over. The main objective of this vaccination policy is to reach herd immunity with the commitment of both children and adults. We have already seen the outcomes in the middle to upper age group. The question comes up as to what about the very young? Is it really necessary that these so frail beings are involved in this immunity?
It is a matter of fact that as a parent we are torn between 2 decisions, all of them seeming to contribute to the well-being of our offspring. In order to have a definite opinion, throughout this guide, having previously studied and verified various sources, you will know if your Baby really needs to receive vaccine shots.
WHEN WILL IT BE LICENSED?
Indeed, it is especially important to be properly vaccinated today with the increase in the number of cases caused by the delta, delta plus and most recently the omicron variant of the virus. These strains are more contagious and are spreading at an unexpectedly high rate and infecting more children with a 240% increase in pediatric cases of COVID-19 in the United States.
Children’s immune systems are very different from those of adults, and their immune responses may vary depending on their age, whereas a teenager may react to a vaccine in the same way as an adult. A toddler may have a very different reaction. That’s why before COVID-19 vaccines are available for children under 5 years of age, it is very important to always conduct clinical trials in children separately.
“Trials on children go through two steps. The first step is to look at different dose levels, specifically doses equal to or lower than those given to adults” says Rajeev Fernando, MD, an infectious disease specialist in Southampton, New York, and a member of What to Expect’s medical review panel. The next step is to compare these doses to placebo shots.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people ages 5 to 16 and older with the Comirnaty vaccine, and now initial results for the other age brackets in the trial – children ages 2 to 5 and children ages 6 months to 2 years – are expected as soon as the fourth quarter of this year.
WILL THERE BE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
As of November 2, children ages 5 to 11 and adolescents ages 12 to 15 can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. In clinical trials, some children and adolescents had no side effects. As adults, more children and adolescents had short-term side effects (fatigue, headache, joint pain) after the second dose of the vaccine than the first dose. As soon as information becomes available for children aged 6 months to 5 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will review it and make recommendations on vaccines.
WHAT DECISION SHOULD I TAKE AS A PARENT?
“Many parents have not been too reluctant to get vaccinated themselves, but are hesitant to make this decision for their child,” confirms Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, clinical psychologist and associate professor at UQAM.
Several factors can increase parents’ hesitation. For example, the overabundance of information can be confusing, and the many changes in health regulations can also destabilize them.
Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier suggests that unsure parents start by making an inventory of their understanding by asking themselves the following questions
– What do I understand about the transmission of COVID-19?
– What do I know about the risks of the disease?
– What has been the social impact of COVID-19 on my child? Has he or she experienced isolation or class or school closures?
– What do I understand about how vaccines work?
– Do I know the benefits and risks of vaccines?
Finally, according to Geneviève Pelletier-Beaulieu, we should not consider our concerns in terms of how others view us. “If I make a decision because I feel social pressure or to avoid feeling guilty, it could harm my psychological well-being” she explains. “On the contrary, if I take time to think before choosing, I will make a choice that is coherent with what I feel and I will be much more likely to feel comfortable with my decision”. The psychologist also suggests that parents talk to their child about vaccination if they are old enough of course. This way, they can see if he or she also has fears and seek valid information with him or her.
The COVID-19 virus is still spreading, and its course has not always been predictable. Getting the vaccine for your child and teen is safe and can stop the spread of the virus and protect your family from COVID-19.