September 24, 2023

COVID vaccines and our kids – are they safe?

In this last year of uncertainty, it has been quite odd to see that our most precious cargo we naturally protect first, are the ones we had to watch be put on the back burner while we adults tried, cautiously, to protect ourselves. And, it was at the instructions of our doctors and health experts.

COVID-19 was more fatal in Black, Brown, and elderly communities, while children and young adults- as a whole- were among those who experienced less symptoms but posed more of a risk of spreading the virus to others. The first priority for vaccinations was for the elderly and people with high-risk health conditions and now, with millions more doses available, vaccines have opened for all adults in Texas.

Next up, is the youth. Clinical trials are now underway for children. So how soon will the children be vaccinated. CNN provided answers to these frequently asked questions:

When can kids get vaccinated?

  • Now that all three vaccines authorized for use in the US have proven safe in adults, clinical trials for those vaccines are underway for children.
  • Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine is currently authorized for people ages 16 and older. Recent data showed the vaccine is 100% effective and well tolerated in the 12-to-15 age group, and health experts say it’s possible children in that age range could by vaccinated by this fall. Vaccine trial data for children as young as 5 could be available by the end of this year.
  • Johnson & Johnson said its vaccine, which is currently authorized for adults, could be available to children by September.
  • Moderna’s vaccine is currently authorized for people ages 18 and older. Moderna has enrolled trial participants ages 12 to 17 and plans to enroll children ages 6 months to 11 years. It’s not clear when the Moderna vaccine might be available to children.
  • Experts anticipate Covid-19 vaccines won’t be available for children 11 and younger in time for the upcoming school year. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said those younger children may have to wait until the first quarter of 2022.
  • Buddy Creech, director of Vanderbilt University’s Vaccine Research Program and an investigator in Moderna’s pediatric trials, estimates a Covid-19 vaccine could be available for high-risk kids 12 and older by July or August, but likely won’t be available for children 11 and younger until November or December, at the earliest.

You can be more at ease once you are fully vaccinated — that means at least two weeks have passed since your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, or at least two weeks have passed since your single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing
  • Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease
  • Skip quarantining and testing if you’re exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but are asymptomatic. (You should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days, though.)

But remember, full vaccination doesn’t mean you can abandon all safety precautions. We are a long way away from herd immunity so, until then, continue “masking up” and practicing good hygiene until health officials tell us otherwise.

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