Dr. Rob McGregor, the hospital’s chief medical officer, sheds light on what the COVID-19 vaccinations mean for families, who they protect and whether getting our lives back is on the horizon.
Should teens get the vaccine?
Yes. The vaccine is much safer than COVID-19. With the vaccine, kids risk short-term side effects. Without the vaccine, they risk rare cases of long-term health complications and potential organ damage from COVID-19. In addition, kids risk exposing the virus to unvaccinated, high-risk loved ones.
Why do we need to vaccinate children?
While children are at reduced risk of a severe COVID-19 infection, some children have developed dangerous and prolonged complications, including Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). It’s worth vaccinating children to prevent these critical COVID-19 cases.
Another reason is to help stop the spread and virus mutations (variants). The more spread we have of the disease, the more people we have carrying it, which gives the virus opportunities to continue to mutate. So if we could shut off a host for that virus, then we’ll minimize the number of times it replicates.
Lastly, because nearly 25% of the U.S. population is children, it is critical that children of all ages get vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity and help end this pandemic.
What is the status of a vaccine for children six months to less than 12 years of age?
Both Moderna and Pfizer have begun studies for their vaccines in children six months to under 12 years of age. They are currently recruiting subjects, so data from these studies is not yet available. However, we are optimistic that these studies may have results as soon as this fall.
How is the vaccine for adults different than the one for children?
The difference between the adult vaccine and the one for children is dosing. For example, in the Moderna study that involves 2 to 18-year-olds, it is looking at doses of 50 micrograms and comparing that to 100 micrograms — the adult dose — to see how that dose compares.
In the study that includes children younger than two years of age, it is looking at 25 micrograms versus 50 micrograms versus 100 micrograms to see what kind of antibody increase results.
Learn more about Akron Children’s public vaccination program and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Read Part 1 in this series: Is this our shot to getting back to some normalcy?