In the early days of the pandemic, scientists have already established that the younger population is not really affected by COVID-19 because of the difference in their immune system compared to adults. However, children are still at risk since they can get infected with the novel coronavirus. This urged government leaders and medical experts to slowly but surely work on a solution that involves the administration of the vaccines in kids.
The Setup So Far
At present, the COVID-19 vaccines are already being given to children ages 12 through 15 while the decision on extending the jabs to the much younger population is still out. The verdict is expected to be announced in the coming days. For now, only Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for kids 12 and above as the Moderna and Janssen vaccines have only been authorized for people age 18 and beyond, according to Boston Children’s Hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also updated its guidance to indicate that immunocompromised people, including the 12 and older teenage population, are now encouraged to receive their booster shots to ensure that they are optimally protected from the novel coronavirus that has recorded spikes in many countries recently due to the newer strains, such as the delta variant.
According to the public health agency, COVID-19 vaccination will have a similar effect on children. This means that like adults, they will be protected from getting seriously sick in the event that they contract the coronavirus. Getting the shots will also help prevent more people from spreading COVID-19 amid the ongoing global health crisis.
Side Effects In Kids
Similar to how the bodies of adults react to the vaccines, children 12 and above will likely experience local and systemic side effects. For the local effects, they refer to pain, redness and swelling on the injection site. These effects can last for hours to a few days, according to the CDC.
On the other hand, the systemic effects include fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever, joint pain and even nausea. These side effects typically last from 1 to 3 days, and they become more evident after the second dose of the vaccine. Mayo Clinic said giving over-the-counter pain reliever to address the discomfort after a shot is allowed, but not the intake of such a medical drug prior to the vaccination.
For immediate allergic reactions, medical professionals that inject the COVID-19 shots always monitor the children who just got vaccinated for 15 to 30 minutes after the jabs are given. This is to ensure that they will receive the right and most immediate treatment should their bodies display an allergic response to the biological preparation.
Vaccines For Younger Children
The reason why the vaccines are still not authorized for children below 12 has to do with the lack of sufficient data to prove its efficiency and safety in them. There is also the struggle to find volunteers, especially parents who would allow their kids to be given the jabs, considering that side effects are not out of the picture.
Nevertheless, researchers are slowly getting there and they are hopeful that children under 12 could soon receive the vaccines to further curb the spread of the virus and quite possibly put an end to the pandemic. Some early findings are already showing promise, as per the more recent updates and reports on the COVID-19 situation.
Dr. Flor Muñoz at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine said that their clinical trial has already found that about one-third of the adult dose of the Pfizer vaccine is the optimal range for kids younger than 12. This means this is the ideal dose that will provide them with protection while also keeping the side effects to a minimum, according to NPR.