In this video, I’m going to break down the risks and benefits of giving your child the new Pfizer COVID vaccine, which now has EUA for children age 5-11, and is 1/3rd the dose of the adult version. Important questions answered in this video include:
How Dangerous is COVID in Children Age 5-11?
Is the vaccine safe for kids ages 5 to 11?
What is the risk of myocarditis (heart inflammation)?
Are the side effects from the vaccine different compared to adolescents?
Is it safe to give children a new vaccine?
But what about long-term effects of the vaccine?
Do you need to space out the COVID vaccine from other immunizations?
Was the study size big enough?
If my child had COVID, should I still vaccinate them?
Would I give this to my own child?
In the United States, children less than 18 years account for about 15% of lab-confirmed cases reported to the CDC. – which is likely an underestimation given the high proportion of mild and asymptomatic cases that never get tested. Children of all ages can get COVID, but incidence does increase with age
The most recent CDC data from September 2021 shows that 38% of children in the 5-11 age group have COVID antibodies, indicating that they’ve had a previous infection. When children get sick with COVID, the symptom breakdown usually involves pneumonia-type symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath:
In general, COVID is milder in children compared to adults, but severe cases do occur. COVID hospitalizations in children less than 18 years peaked in January 2021, declined through June, and went up again with the delta surge. Overall, there have been more than 8,300 children ages 5 to 11 hospitalized with COVID, and more than 2,300 have gotten a related illness called MIS-C.
MIS-C refers to system-wide inflammation in the body, a condition that is similar to Kawasaki disease. In a study that looked at over 1,000 children who were hospitalized with MIS-C, the most common age group was between 6 to 12 years.
COVID infection in children is associated with an increased risk of myocarditis, but the absolute risk is low – less than 0.15%. Other cardiovascular issues can occur as well, such as heart pericarditis, arrhythmias, and heart failure, but overall these are pretty rare. In a multicenter case series of 1700 children hospitalized with COVID, (one third of which had MIS-C), overall 22% had neurologic symptoms, which were usually temporary. In that study, 43 children had life-threatening neurologic involvement (such as stroke, central Guillain-Barré syndrome, and severe seizures), and 11 children died. In a systematic review of that saw information of about 1500 children, 2% had severe pneumonia, and 0.7% required a ventilator, with 6 of those children dying.
We do know that children with underlying conditions who get COVID have a higher rate of hospitalization and ICU admission, and the most common underlying medical conditions associated with higher risk of hospitalization…..are obesity, chronic pulmonary disease such as asthma, and those who were premature babies. In another study that involved several countries, the COVID death rate was 0.17 per 100,000 children. In the United States, according to the CDC, 745 children under 18 years have died of Covid, and in the 5-11 age group, there were 172 deaths.