When Can My Children Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?
During a recent Zoom mentoring session at Booker Middle School, a bright 12-year-old student (we will call Johnny) asked, “When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?”
I found this question intriguing for several reasons. First, he had thought about COVID-19 and wanted to know when the vaccination was going to be possible for him. His question also implied that he knew the vaccination was available, safe, and effective for his family who had been vaccinated, so when could he get his? The answer is the federal government has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for distribution to individuals ages 16 years and older. So now children in this age group can receive the vaccination with parental consent and presence. When this piece was written, no COVID-19 vaccine had been authorized for children under 16. One may be presented to the FDA for approval soon. So, Johnny, not yet, but soon. Thanks for asking.
If grandma is vaccinated but grandkids are not, what to do? Be careful. First, get those 16-and-older grandkids vaccinated. Grandma could still get the virus from the grandkids. Though the vaccine is preventing her from getting really sick, she still could carry the virus. When grandma is vaccinated, it would be prudent for her to wear a mask around grandkids, especially if they are not vaccinated. Continue this until more people are vaccinated and the level of the virus is low in the community. This will not be forever. Let’s be cautious about virus transmission from the grandkids to the grandparents since kids under 16 won’t be able to get vaccinated until studies confirm it is safe and effective in children. Could be soon, but grandkids like Johnny still need to wear their mask.
If you are hesitant to get the vaccination, and I know some of you are, please talk to someone you trust (friend, teacher, doctor, pastor, the COVID-19 Regional Coalition “Shots In Arms”), and get accurate information. Try not to believe everything you read on social media, which can be scary.
All of us, including our children, can help keep the number of people positive for COVID-19 low by continuing to follow those pandemic precautions when we’re out in the community. The CDC advises you, me, mom, dad, cousins, and kids, everyone...including the fully vaccinated to continue wearing masks indoors, in public spaces, and certainly in crowded outdoor settings. You’ve heard it before, “Masks save lives, so mask up.”
Contributions to Sun Coast Media Group are written by members of the Gulf Coast Medical Society. Washington Hill M.D. is a Gulf Coast Medical Society member and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist with CenterPlace Health and Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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