Any vaccine comes with the risk of an adverse reaction, and the Covid-19 shots are no different, doctors and vaccine experts say. So far, however, researchers haven’t found evidence the vaccines pose any additional or different risks to children versus adults.
Thankfully, the Covid-19 pandemic has been far less lethal to young children than it has been in adults, and kids are generally less vulnerable to severe disease from the virus. But “lower risk” is not the same thing as “no risk.”
In terms of deciding between Pfizer and Moderna, for me, it’s really hard, because I actually think that Moderna has a real advantage here. Even though the readouts we have so far indicate that Pfizer would seem to have more efficacy against symptomatic Covid, I’m not really swayed by that. I think that might be a short-term mirage and that in reality, they’re probably both pretty similar.
Prioritizing equity is particularly important as vaccination efforts extend to the youngest group of children.
Children under five in the U.S. aren’t yet eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine after efforts to get the shots to market have hit setbacks.
The omicron variant caused less severe disease than delta for children under 5, and fewer deaths.
With masks coming off in schools, day care centers and other places, many parents of young children are getting especially anxious and want to get their kids vaccinated. Pediatric trials continue.
Many parents have been anxiously awaiting the moment that Covid-19 vaccines become authorized for their children, hoping that the shots would provide confidence and security as the kids return to normal activities. Others have been more wary, concerned that rare side effects like myocarditis will outweigh the vaccine’s benefits considering that kids are less likely than adults to experience severe outcomes from the disease.
At least in the near term, there could be some unique challenges to this new vaccination effort as well as a repeat of some of the difficulties faced during previous COVID-19 vaccination phases.
As disappointing as the delay is, it is important that regulators take their time in ensuring that the vaccine adequately protects young children without compromising safety and effectiveness.
For months, parents have been told COVID vaccines for their little ones are coming. But opaque communication from the FDA, shifting timelines, delays and misinformation have left parents frustrated and confused. Here’s everything we know at the moment.
The smaller-dosed children's vaccines, and the circulation of the omicron variant, have riddled the authorization process for the youngest age group as researchers scramble to find a dosing that'll work.
Thankfully, there is a logic to how pediatric shots are designed and dosed. Children aren’t just miniaturized adults, and vaccines aren’t sandwiches: Pairing the two appropriately requires more than splitting shots into quarters or halves.
While young children generally don't get as sick from COVID-19 as older kids and adults, their hospitalizations surged during the omicron wave and FDA's advisers determined that benefits from vaccination outweighed the minimal risks. Studies from Moderna and Pfizer showed side effects, including fever and fatigue, were mostly minor.