Among the questions about vaccinations that we’re hearing is one with a simple answer:
Q: Is there a COVID-19 vaccination for kids?
A: A vaccine for the 5-11 age group has just been approved, and there is also a vaccination for children ages 12 to 17.
Is the COVID-19 vaccination for young kids safe?
The procedure for making vaccines available is complicated and follows strict rules. This is very important. It helps make sure that vaccines are both safe and effective.
Even though the COVID-19 vaccination development process has been fast, the vaccines have been tested thoroughly on adults and on children.
Kids are different from adults. Their immune systems are different and they can react differently to substances than adults do. It isn’t possible to generalize from adult trials of the vaccine to children. This is why separate testing for children was needed.
How was the vaccine for children developed?
The approved vaccines have been tested to make sure that they are effective — that they actually make it less likely that vaccinated people will catch the virus.
They have also been tested to make sure that they are safe. Side effects or allergies can always occur, but it’s essential to know what kinds of effects the vaccines have. It takes time to get this information.
There are now vaccines for children ages 5 to 17.
What about children under age 5?
Now that vaccines have been tested on kids ages 5-17 and found safe and effective, researchers can move on to younger children. This is the normal process for developing vaccines.
During this process, we will continue to learn more about the vaccines’ effects and effectiveness for adults. At this point, for example, we don’t know whether the vaccines will protect people for many years, because the vaccines haven’t existed that long.
We don’t even know if COVID-19 will continue to be a threat to public health for many years.
As scientists gather more knowledge about the vaccines for adults, they will be able to use this information to improve vaccine testing for kids.
However, no one knows right now how long it will be until COVID-19 vaccines are available for all children. Keep up with news on COVID-19 vaccinations at this website and on MANA social media.
What can I do to protect my toddler from COVID-19?
To protect your youngest children, plan to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to you and encourage other adults who are around your child to do the same.
We now have several tools to protect against COVID-19. Wearing masks in public has proven to be very effective in preventing the spread of the virus. Staying 6-feet apart from people outside the household, avoiding gatherings, and washing hands are other tools we will continue to use to fight COVID-19.