Dear BHP Families,
Like you, all of us at BHP are excitedly following the recent news that the FDA and CDC voted to grant emergency use authorization to Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old. We would like to share some data with you and answer some common questions that we are hearing so you can make an informed decision for your family.
The vaccine dose used in this trial was 10 micrograms (1/3 of the dose used for 12yo-adults.)
Participants received 2 doses, 3 weeks apart.
There were no severe side effects reported in the children who received the vaccine.
There were no cases of myocarditis among the children who received the vaccine.
Common side effects were arm soreness, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue.
The antibody response seen in these 5-11 year olds was very similar to the antibody response seen in 12-15 year olds in the previous study, even though the children in this new study were given a much smaller vaccine dose.
Reviewing the evidence, the FDA concluded that the benefits of this vaccine far outweigh the risks. We agree with this analysis and strongly recommend this vaccine to all children who are in this age group.
Questions and Answers
Will BHP recommend the COVID-19 vaccine if it is approved? Yes! This has been a tough 20 months for our kids and we are hopeful that this vaccine will move their lives closer to normal.
Will BHP make the vaccine mandatory to remain in our practice? No. We know that this is a very personal decision, and our goal is to support all of our patient families by providing both accurate information and our own medical opinions. That said, in case it is helpful to know, all of the doctors at BHP plan to give this vaccine to their own eligible children
Are there any preservatives in this vaccine? The Pfizer vaccine does not contain any preservatives, eggs or latex.
Was the trial sufficient to know all the potential risks? The trial was big enough to see that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. Also, please keep in mind that over 11 million doses of the vaccine have been given to kids 12-15 years of age with great success. The vaccine seems to work, and the vaccine seems to have very few, and very mild, side effects. Remember, too, that there are risks associated with not being vaccinated. For example, right now we do not know what the long term risks are for children who contract and fight off COVID-19.
What is myocarditis and is it possible that my child will get it from the vaccine? Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart. It is generally a rare condition but is occasionally seen in children and young adults after a viral infection. Rare cases of myocarditis have been described predominantly in young men after the COVID-19 vaccine. These cases have been mild and self-limited. Please keep in mind that having a COVID-19 infection can also cause myocarditis and those cases are often much more severe and more common than vaccine-associated myocarditis. There were no cases of myocarditis in the 5-11 year old trial. But it is possible that the trial was too small to catch these rare events and that in the next few months as more kids will be vaccinated, we might hear of some cases. The described rate of myocarditis in adolescents and young adults is about one in 45,000 cases. Again, vaccine-associated myocarditis is mild and very rare. Infection-associated myocarditis is significantly more common and usually more severe.
Will Beverly Hills Pediatrics be offering the vaccine in our office? We are applying to have the vaccine in our office, but it is a several month process and realistically we are unlikely to receive any doses in 2021. You can now schedule the COVID-19 vaccine for your child by going to myturn.ca.gov.
Will schools require the COVID-19 vaccine in 5-11 year olds? While the vaccine is under emergency use authorization, it is up to the individual school districts and individual private schools to determine if they will mandate it or not. Once the vaccine receives full FDA approval, it will likely be mandated by all schools in California.
Does there need to be a time interval between getting other immunizations and the COVID-19 vaccine? No. Your child can get the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines without regard to timing. This means that they can get the COVID-19 vaccine and the Flu shot on the same day or a couple of days later.
If my family already had COVID-19, do the kids still need the vaccine? Yes. Research is showing that people get better protection by being fully immunized compared with having had COVID-19.
How soon after having COVID-19 can my child get his/her vaccination? You should wait until your child is no longer symptomatic and at least ten days have passed since the positive test. This criteria also applies to people who get COVID-19 infection between dose one and dose two of the vaccine.