COVID-19 Vaccine Update
We should receive our shipment of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 6 months—5 years of age soon! We will start with the quick highlights, but please read the entire update for details.
Can’t wait? You have options!
>Texas Children’s Hospital has Pfizer vaccine, by appointment only at Austin outpatient clinic.
>Dell Children’s Medical Center has Pfizer vaccine, at a walk-in, no-appointment clinic at 4900 Mueller Blvd for all kids 6 months and up, on Wed June 29 5-8 pm.
>Tarrytown Pharmacy offers both Moderna and Pfizer vaccine for children under age 5. Children under 3 need a prescription from their pediatrician for pharmacies to administer it. For your convenience, we have prescriptions ready-to-go at our front desk. You can stop by and pick one up at your convenience.
Should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. While most cases of COVID-19 infection are mild in young children, over 440 American children under age 5 have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. COVID-19 infection has become a leading cause of death in this age group. And, up to 50% of children who are hospitalized with COVID-19 do not have any underlying medical conditions. The vaccine can protect against serious disease.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children?
Yes. Over 9000 babies and children participated in the Moderna and Pfizer clinical trials and tolerated the vaccine without significant adverse reactions. And, over 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccine have already been safely given to children ages 5-11. Safety data will continue to be monitored closely.
Are there any long-term side effects?
Very unlikely. Because this is a relatively new vaccine, it is impossible to answer this question with absolute certainty. But mRNA has been studied for over 20 years before the first COVID-19 vaccine came out in 2020. No long-term side effects have been identified. The mRNA vaccine ingredients quickly break down and clear the body within several days. The speculation about chronic health and fertility issues are unfounded and scientifically implausible.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective for children?
Yes. It is effective in protecting against severe COVID-19 infection because children mount a robust immune response to the vaccine. It is somewhat protective against infection, but the main goal is protection against serious illness and death.
Can COVID-19 vaccine be given at the same time as other vaccinations?
Yes. Several vaccines are co-administered in the routine childhood vaccination series without compromising the immune response or causing significant adverse reactions. There are no concerns for giving COVID-19 vaccine and other shots simultaneously.
Is there any difference between Moderna and Pfizer vaccine?
Both vaccines use mRNA technology. Both vaccine clinical trials demonstrated that young children mount an antibody response to vaccination. Both vaccines proved to be safe, without significant adverse reactions in young children.
The current Moderna vaccine series for young children is 2 doses, given 28 days apart. Children develop an immune response 14 days after the 2nd dose. It is about 37% effective* in reducing the rate of infection (*but remember, the main goal is reducing severe disease). Moderna intends to submit data on adding a 3rd dose to the vaccination series next month.
The Pfizer vaccine series for young children is 3 doses, with the first two doses given 21 days apart and the 3rd dose given 2 months later. Children develop an immune response 7 days after the 3rd dose* (*there is no significant protection until the 3rd dose is given!) It is about 80% effective in reducing the rate of infection in the limited number of children in the study who received all three doses.
Why is your office only offering Pfizer vaccine?
We will offer one vaccine brand for simplicity in scheduling and administering the vaccine. Pfizer vaccine is, and Moderna vaccine will eventually be a 3-dose series (Moderna plans to submit data to the FDA next month for a 3rd dose to be added). Both mRNA vaccines are effective in protecting against severe disease. But in this pandemic, everything evolves based on scientific data. If Moderna proves to be superior in protection, we will certainly offer it.
Can my child get the vaccine if they already had COVID-19 infection?
Yes, and we encourage it. Based on recent studies, we know that children do not mount a robust or sustained immune response (lack of antibodies and T cell response) after infection. Getting the vaccine will boost their protection from serious illness with COVID-19.
Can my child get the vaccine if they had COVID-19 infection recently?
Yes, as long as they have recovered from the acute illness. However, recent data suggests that your child may have a better immune response to the vaccine if 3 months have passed between infection and vaccination. For now, we recommend waiting 3 months after infection.
What if they get the first dose of vaccine and then get COVID-19 infection before their 2nd or 3rd dose?
Based on current data, we recommend waiting 3 months to resume the vaccination series if your child has a COVID-19 infection between doses.
What if my child turns 5 during the COVID-19 vaccination series?
Your child will receive the dose and vaccination schedule according to their age, which may change if their birthday occurs during the vaccination series.
Have more questions? Send us questions via the patient portal! We will continue to post breaking news on our website and on Instagram @411Pediatrics.
Happy summer and 4th of July!
Dr. Ari Brown and 411 Pediatrics