The director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, officially gave the green light on Covid-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 Tuesday, paving the way for million of young Americans to get vaccinated.
Parents have a lot of questions: What dose are their kids getting, and how long will it take to kick in and protect their children? What side effects should they expect? What if their child is about to turn 12 – should they wait until then to get the higher dose? And what happens if the pediatrician’s office doesn’t have vaccine appointments – what other options are there to get a shot?
CNN posed these questions to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Here’s what she said:
Should parents and families plan on kids missing school to recover from potential side effects after they get the vaccine?
Wen: That’s up to you. A lot of kids have minimal side effects and will have no problem going to school the next day. On the other hand, if you are worried about child care, in case your child has to miss school and then you may have to miss work, it’s reasonable to schedule the shots on a Friday or weekend.
Can a child get the Covid-19 vaccine the same time as another vaccine, like the flu vaccine?
Wen: Yes. If given at the same time, the vaccines would be given in a different injection site – for example, in the other arm, or in two different places on the leg.
What if a child has a history of food or medication allergies? Should they skip this vaccine?
Wen: No. The only reason not to get this vaccine is if your child has a severe allergic reaction to one of its components. Note that the Covid-19 vaccines do not contain egg products, as some other vaccines do. If your child has a food allergy or had a reaction to another vaccine in the past, that is not a reason to refrain from the Covid-19 vaccine.
Kids ages 5 to 11 can soon receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, following CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s approval of that recommendation.
If you are particularly concerned, mention it to your pediatrician or pharmacist. These health professionals can observe your child in the office or pharmacy for longer following the vaccine just to make sure there is no allergic reaction.
Should a child who has had Covid-19 before still get vaccinated?
Wen: The CDC recommends that individuals who previously were diagnosed with Covid-19 still get vaccinated. The vaccine provides additional, longer-lasting protection than recovery from illness.
There are some experts who believe that someone who has had Covid-19 only needs one shot of the vaccine. However, this is not the CDC recommendation, which is to receive two doses of the vaccine regardless of prior infection.
This content was originally published here.