Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/30/2021 --The decision by the FDA and CDC to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone over the age of five comes after research showing that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing disease in kids as well as adults.
As the holidays approach, experts say now is the time to be vaccinated so the immune system has the time to learn from the vaccine and build immunity. "It generally takes about one to two weeks for our immune systems to fully respond to vaccines," said Dr. Neal Davis, a pediatrician with Intermountain Medical Group as well as medical director of Pediatric Community-Based Care for Intermountain Healthcare. "In that time, our protection is building."
And in the case of the Pfizer vaccine, a second dose is administered at least 21 days later. "This is also common with many vaccines," said Dr. Davis. "The first dose starts the process, but the immune response isn't as strong as it can be. The second dose adds to that protection."
With the time needed, it is important to note that parents need to get the process started now in order to have the best protection for their children for the holidays.
Research has shown that kids who are fully immunized with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are 10 times less likely to become infected with COVID-19 than kids who are not immunized. There were no serious reactions reported during the study to date.
Dr. Davis also points out that serious reactions or complications – if they happen at all – usually show up in the first couple weeks after vaccination. "With almost a year of history with these vaccines being given to millions of individuals, we have a good understanding of their safety profile, including rare problems."
On the other hand, almost 70,000 children under 18 have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 since August of last year according to the CDC. Severe complications due to COVID aren't as common in children as adults, but can include things like Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and "Long COVID" symptoms like fatigue, muscle and joint pain, insomnia, headache, and heart palpitations lasting 12 weeks or longer after the infection.
"Some parents have said they wanted to wait and see how things went before vaccinating their kids," said Dr. Davis. "We have great evidence of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, but also an incredible monitoring system in doctors, state and local health departments, and the best experts in the country and world who are tracking this."
Dr. Davis said side effects among kids are generally mild and similar to those seen in adults: redness and soreness at the injection site. Swollen lymph nodes, fever, and chills can also occur, but so far these seem to happen less often among younger kids. "Remember, these symptoms are a sign that children and teenagers, like most adults, have immune systems that are responding well to the vaccine."
"And if parents haven't received the full COVID vaccine series, or if they haven't received an eligible booster, this a great chance to get it to show their kids how they take steps to protect their both kids' and their own health."
For more information, including current vaccine locations, go to www.intermountain.com/covidvaccine or vaccines.gov.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Located in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, the Intermountain Medical Group with some 2,700 employed physicians and advanced care practitioners, a health plans division called SelectHealth, Homecare, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.