Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Children Aged 5-11?

Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Children Aged 5-11? Recently, many countries have approved the use of CoronaVac Suspension for Injection Covid-19 Vaccine, Inactivated produced by Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd., China for children aged 5-11. Besides China, countries such as Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey have approved the use of CoronaVac Inactivated Vaccine for children.

Initially, both CDC and FDA have approved Pfizer as the only Covid-19 vaccine for everyone who is aged 5-11 to help protect against Covid-19 according to a press release dated 29 Oct 2021. The authorization of use is based on their review of the clinical trials and the safety is evaluated and studied before the decision is made. Scientists have conducted a clinical trial on thousands of children and no serious safety concerns were identified.

Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, China, & Malaysia have approved the use of CoronaVac Suspension for Injection Covid-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated produced by Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd, China and Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd, Malaysia for children aged 5-11. Some countries such as Hong Kong & China, even approved for the use of the said vaccine on children as young as 3 years old. No matter which vaccine you choose for your children, the ultimate goal is to get protection against the Covid-19 virus and prevent serious illnesses after infected.

Covid-19 has been around for two years and people are advised to get the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible. According to WHO, there are about 4.3B people have received full Covid-19 vaccination which covers 56% of the total population globally. Young people who are less than 20 years old cover 33% of the total world population. This group of people needed to get protected against Covid-19 too, to establish herd immunity. Even though young people are at a lower risk of Covid-19 mortality but young people can get very sick and hospitalized too especially those who are having immunosuppressed complications which could lead to death.

How confident are we, as parents, to let our young children get vaccinated? Let’s dive into some facts about the Covid-19 vaccine for children and some useful FAQs for parents.

Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Children Aged 5-11
Credit: Visual Capitalist Datastream: The World Populations by Age Group 2020

Covid Vaccine for Adolescents aged 12 – 17

Covid-19 Vaccination for adolescents aged 12-17 has started rolling since the beginning of the year 2022. Initially, the only Covid-19 vaccine that is approved is Pfizer, 30mcg per dose will be administered, the same dosage of Pfizer as adults. Two doses will be given. The second dose will be given after 8 weeks from the first dose. Booster shots will be given after 5 months after their second dose. Those young people who have certain medical conditions will be given a booster shot 28 days after the second dose.

Many Asian countries have approved CoronaVac Suspension for Injection Covid-19 Vaccine, Inactive virus produced by Sinovac Life Science Co, Ltd. Same adult dosage 0.5cc will be given to children aged 12-17, two doses with 4 weeks apart.

Covid Vaccine for Children aged 5-11

Initially, Pfizer is the only approved Covid-19 Vaccine for children aged 5-11, the dosage is only one-third of the adult’s dosage, which is a 10mcg dose. The second dose will be given after 8 weeks. No booster shot is needed for children under 11 without certain medical conditions with immunosuppressed.

Many Asian countries have approved CoronaVac Suspension for Injection Covid-19 Vaccine, Inactive virus produced by Sinovac Life Science Co, Ltd. Same adult dosage 0.5cc will be given to children aged 5-11, two doses with 4 weeks apart.

Covid Vaccine is Safe for Children Aged 5-11?

Safety and side effects after the Covid-19 vaccine are the two main reasons why parents are worried about sending their young children for the Covid-19 vaccine. Let us look at what the authorities such as CDC and FDA say about the Pfizer as approved Covid-19 vaccine for children.

According to the official FDA report on “COVID-19 Vaccine Safety in Children Aged 5–11 Years — United States, November 3–December 19, 2021”, concluded that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent COVID-19. Approximately 8.7 million doses of Pfizer vaccine were administered to children aged 5–11 years old during this period: most frequently mild reactions after dose 2 including injection-site pain, fatigue, or headache were reported. These symptoms are mild and usually will go away within 48 hours.

Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after the Pfizer Vaccination of children aged 12-17. These cases are rare, in one study, the risk of myocarditis was around 54 cases per million doses administered to male adolescents 12-17. During the clinical trial, there are no cases of myocarditis were reported on children aged 5-11.

The dosage of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11 is only 10mcg which is one-third of the adult’s dosage. Even with the small amount, scientists identify that the shot is 90.7% effective at preventing Covid-19 symptoms in kids. Children will also get mild symptoms like fatigue, fever, swelling on the arm, etc. after the shot which are the normal signs of their body is building protection against the virus. The benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks.

Parents and caregivers shall be assured that the authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine by the FDA for children aged 5-11 is based on a comprehensive evaluation of the data (guided by the science) about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. The vaccine safety will be closely monitored by FDA and CDC using the most intensive safety monitoring surveillance system in US history.

Let’s us see what Sinovac said about their CoronaVac inactivated vaccine:

They announced the phase 3 trial result in the press release dated 29 Dec 2021, CoronaVac inactivated vaccine indicating the safety of children aged between 6 months old to 17 years old. Nearly 4000 children in South Africa that were participated in the trial have zero reported severe events. In Mainland China, almost 140 million of children aged 3 – 11 have received the CoronaVac inactivated vaccine since Dec 2021, and they obtained 100% high level of antibody positive conversion which are equal or higher than that of adults. They remained at high levels 28 days after the first shot and remain stable even for another 3 months afterwards.

However, experts will continue monitor and update us from time to time.

Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Children aged 5-11

Should I wait until more information related to the Covid-19 vaccine?

According to the experts, prevention is the better way to protect our children. Getting our children vaccinated as soon as possible can help to protect them from severe diseases, hospitalization, and developing long-term complications after they got infected with the virus.

The covid-19 vaccine can help protect them from getting the infection and becoming sick. Vaccination also helps to stop spreading the virus to the unvaccinated group and the susceptible group of people.

“Wait and see” will not help protect them from getting infected with Covid-19. As of October 2021, children ages 5 -11 years have experienced more than 8,300 Covid-19 related hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths were reported. Additionally, children can experience both short and long-term complications after infection. They can develop post-Covid-19 conditions that can last for several weeks or longer and can also develop serious complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)—a condition where different body parts become inflamed.  From April 2020 to October 2021, more than 2,300 cases of MIS-C have been reported in children ages 5 through 11 years.

Vaccination for children 5-11 years old shall help to achieve herd immunity faster so that we can return to our normalcy as soon as possible.

Should I worried about the side effect?

Most of us, parents, are worried about the side effects after our children get the shot. According to CDC, some side effects may affect your children from their daily activities. Some people do not have any side effects, and severe allergic reactions due to the vaccine are rare. Fever, fatigue, and pain on the arm are the commonly reported side effects but usually, they will go away within 1-2 days.

On the contrary, we should be worrying about our children getting infected by the virus which may have short and long-term effects after the infection.

Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Children Aged 5-11

What shall I do if my child is afraid to get vaccinated?

We shall let our children know what to expect when they get vaccinated. Only slight pain when the needle is injected and possibly sore arm after that but it will go away after a day or two. What about rewarding them after they get vaccinated, rewards such as a vacation to somewhere they have never been before, or a nice restaurant where they can have their favorite foods as a celebration after the vaccine.

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