Yes, your child should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if they are eligible, and no, it won’t affect their future fertility. Dr. Mandie Tibball Svatek sorts through myths and worries about COVID-19 vaccines for children.
I thought children couldn’t catch COVID-19, so why should they get vaccinated?
Anyone can catch COVID-19. We saw COVID affect adults much more aggressively, but still, COVID can give a spectrum of symptoms in children.
Some may be asymptomatic and some can have severe symptoms and end up hospitalized, and some can die from COVID.
When you see that spectrum, we understand that some children that are positive for COVID may not show symptoms, while others may.
If my child has already had COVID-19, do they still need to be vaccinated?
It’s extremely important to vaccinate your child. Vaccines have proven long-term to show a continued immune response. If you actually get a disease process, that immune response in other illnesses has waned, and they’re finding that is very similar with COVID.
It’s important that you receive a vaccine to give you much more long-term response and defense against future COVID disease.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect my child against future variants?
We hope that the vaccine will continue to protect against future variants, but as things change, that’s where they are continuing to look at the science and to assure that those vaccines are continuing to be effective.
Currently, the COVID vaccine still shows that in comparison to the flu vaccine, it is more effective. As we move along, we need to continue to understand that and to continue to look at further approval, perhaps for further changes in those vaccines to create that appropriate immune response.
What kind of side effects could my child have from the COVID-19 vaccine and how should we treat them?
What they’ve seen in studies is very similar side effects in comparison to adults after they receive the vaccine, but sometimes less so. Pain in the arm is one of the more common results of receiving the COVID vaccine. You can also develop fever and fatigue.
If they’re having a fever, you can treat them with Tylenol and monitor them. We have a safe vaccine reporting system, should they have other side effects that way those can be reported and recorded so the CDC and the FDA can look at those.
Why is it important for children to receive their COVID-19 booster?
As you receive two doses of the vaccine, sometimes your immune response can wane. And as new variants come in, you still want to protect your body.
So it’s important that booster dose has still shown to be effective at preventing deaths and hospitalizations. You want to continue to initiate that appropriate immune response so you get that appropriate response the next time another variant comes in.
Could vaccinating my child before they reach puberty affect their development or future fertility?
Vaccinating your child has not been found to affect fertility or future development. It’s important to understand that this vaccine does not affect the DNA in an individual. It does not go into the nucleus of any cells; it’s an RNA vaccine that helps the body produce a defense against that spike protein on COVID.
Can my child receive other vaccinations when they get their COVID-19 vaccine?
The CDC says that it is okay to give that COVID vaccine with other vaccines. You want to ensure that you remain on the appropriate schedule to protect your child from disease.
There haven’t been any conflicts with receiving the COVID vaccine on top of other vaccines.