Ask The Doctor: Is The COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for My Child?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a lengthy, stressful and often confusing time for all of us.  As news and information about coronavirus vaccinations increases, so do questions. We recently sat down with Urgent Care for Children Pediatrician, Dr. Marina Thompson to get the answers to your top questions about the COVID-19 vaccination in children and when it might become available to those under age 16.

Q: I want to have my child vaccinated against COVID-19. What steps should I take?

A: Currently, at the time of this post, there are no vaccines approved for children under the age of 16. If you have children ages 15 or younger, occasionally monitor websites like ours, the CDC, or the American Academy of Pediatrics for updates. Anticipate that it may be several months before approval to this age group expands.

Alabama residents ages 16 and older who have not contracted the coronavirus in the last 90 days are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine currently approved for 16- and 17-year olds. Your provider can let you know if they have the Pfizer vaccine, as can a website like VaccineFinder.org. Patients ages 18 or older can receive any of the approved vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, and the best one is simply the one that you are able to get! You can make an appointment for a patient age 18 or older to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Urgent Care for Children’s Highway 280 location here.

Q: Is there a COVID-19 vaccine in the works for children?

A: Yes, vaccine trials for children are currently in process. Pfizer and Moderna recently announced plans to enroll children down to age six months in their trials. The other vaccine manufacturers will likely follow suit soon as well. However, there is no specific time frame for approval for these vaccines to be used in children.

Q: Do you recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for children?

A: Yes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidelines once it is approved by the FDA for children. To quote the American Academy of Pediatrics, “All three authorized COVID-19 vaccines are life-saving vaccines. Individuals should receive the first vaccine they are eligible to receive, and that is available in their community. Research trials have shown all three are highly effective against severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death.”

Q: Until a vaccine is approved for children, what are the best steps that I can take to prevent them from contracting the coronavirus?

A: It’s still pretty simple: wear a mask, stay six feet apart from others, and avoid large crowds! Children ages two and up should wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose in public. Try to keep six feet of distance between your family and those who don’t live with you where possible. The CDC did recently say that three feet of distance are acceptable in schools; studies have shown that schools are doing a great job keeping kids safe!

Urgent Care for Children is proud to serve as an approved vaccination site and continue to offer COVID-19 testing services to all of its communities. To learn more about the coronavirus vaccine offerings at Urgent Care for Children, click here or to book a COVID-19 test for an adult or child, visit this link.