As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee prepares to make their recommendations on COVID-19 vaccinations for kids 5 and older, pediatric doctors are making their case to parents. A Riley Children’s Hospital physician said that means dispelling misinformation.
Dr. Sarah Bosslet, director of primary care at Riley, said that starts with answering questions from parents. For example, parents have asked about long-term side effects from vaccines. She said, with most vaccines, severe side effects are almost immediate or within six weeks.
“So we don’t have any concerns about long-term effects from COVID vaccine, we actually have much more concern about long-term side effects from COVID infection,” Bosslet said.
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She said that’s especially important after the toll the delta variant took on kids.
“The main goal for this vaccine – it’s to prevent hospitalization and death. … The COVID vaccine prevents 100 percent, so far, of the hospitalizations and death in children. Which is unbelievable,” Bosslet said.
If approved, the Pfizer-BioNTech dose for kids 5 and older would be one-third the dose for those 12 and older as well as adults. Because of the smaller dose, Bosslet said there are fewer reports of fever and widespread body aches from the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bosslet said she’s been preparing her physicians to help talk to families who are hesitant to get their children vaccinated.
“We need to model this, right? So, I’m happy – I will post and share pictures of my 7-year-old getting their vaccine. Because I want people to understand that this is really important and also very safe,” she said.
Bosslet said pediatricians often help families navigate vaccine hesitancy – and they’re ready.