Since the Pfizer mRNA vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 was authorized for emergency use last month, plenty of kids (not just their parents!) have questions about the new kids COVID vaccine, including what it’s for and why they should get it.
In a Motherly-exclusive video (watch it below!) in partnership with The White House, Lee Savio Beers, MD, a pediatrician and president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, answers kids’ most pressing questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, and as you can expect, the ensuing conversation is… adorable.
Kids' biggest questions about the Covid vaccine
Two girls are really curious to know what’s in the mRNA vaccine. “Is there peanuts in it?” one asks. Dr. Savio Beers responds that no, there are no peanuts in the vaccine. “Is there fish in it?” the child follows up. “There are not fish in it,” Dr. Savio Beers answers. “Is it, like, lint in it?” asks her cousin. “Nope, there is not lint in it either. You’re good,” replies Dr. Savio Beers. While the vaccines do contain mRNA technology designed to teach your immune system to recognize and fight off the coronavirus, no lint was used in the process. (Phew.)
One 10-year-old wowed Dr. Savio Beers with his knowledge of the vaccine. “So, Thane, do you know about the Covid-19 vaccine?” Dr. Savio Beers asks. “I know it’s something that helps your body develop antibodies that can fight different kinds of viruses,” he rapid-fires back. Impressed, Dr. Savio Beers asks Thane if he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. “Maybe,” he says nonchalantly. We’ll stay tuned.
Watch the sweet video here
With the news of the Omicron variant now circulating in the U.S., vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11 are a key tool in helping keep one of our most vulnerable populations safe from the newest Covid variant of concern.
More and more children are getting their first shots each day, and the U.S. leads the world in vaccinating children in this age group, says The White House in a press release. “To date, we have already vaccinated over 4 million 5- to 11-year-olds and 15 million adolescents. Vaccinating our kids protects them, keeps schools open, and protects everyone around them.”
The AAP recommends kids between the ages of 5 and 11 get vaccinated unless they have a contraindication. Kids who have previously been infected with Covid should also get vaccinated to prevent the risk of reinfection. In addition, keeping up with routine childhood vaccinations is also important in keeping kids healthy.
New steps to keep kids safe from Covid
Estimates suggest there are over 28 million children in the 5- to 11-age group, so we’ve still got a long way to go. President Biden has recently announced new steps to help the number of vaccinations keep growing in the U.S. population in general and encourage kids to get the vaccine, including:
- Launching hundreds of family vaccination clinics to get the whole family vaccinated or boosted in one location
- Reviewing school COVID-19 prevention policies to avoid closures of entire classrooms or schools when there is a positive case
- Requiring Medicaid to pay health care providers to talk to families about getting their kids vaccinated
- Providing every resource to the FDA to support timely review of applications for vaccines for individuals under the age of 5
At this time, vaccines for kids younger than age 5 aren’t expected to be distributed until spring 2022, but Pfizer hopes to present the initial data on clinical trials for kids ages 2 to under 5 by the end of 2021.
“We’re all doing our part to stay healthy,” Dr. Savio Beers tells Egypt, age 5, in the video. Vaccines—and boosters for adults—are our best tools to help keep kids from getting the virus, especially as we head into the winter months, when viral transmission tends to pick up. And with the news of Omicron, taking action now is vital.
If you or your child have more questions about the Covid vaccine for kids, talk to your pediatrician.