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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About COVID Vaccines for Children Under Five

June 15, 2022

With the Food and Drug Administration poised to approve two vaccines for children between six months and five years old, there are questions about which vaccines parents should choose for their kids. One vaccine requires more doses but is more effective, while the other requires fewer doses but might not be as effective. Here is what you need to know: “Both vaccines are safe and effective,” said Virginia Bieluch, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center. “It can be difficult to compare vaccines as they are studied at different times in the pandemic, with different variants and rates of infection in the communities studied. Also, the definition of effectiveness used in studies can be different. Both vaccines elicit strong immune responses. Parents should have their child vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available.” No matter which vaccine is chosen, don’t expect the pandemic to miraculously end any time soon. “SARS-CoV 2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infections, is here to stay,” Bieluch said. “It is important for everyone to do whatever is possible to minimize infection and transmission. While serious COVID-19 infection is rare in young children, deaths have occurred. Long term consequences have also been noted in children. Vaccines are important in preventing complications of COVID-19. Immunization is important in minimizing infection, preventing transmission of the virus and avoiding long term consequences of infection. Vaccination is also extremely important in efforts to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle and this is very important for the socialization of young children.” That’s why it is critical that parents understand the vaccines are safe and effective. “These vaccines have been administered to millions of children throughout the world already,” Bieluch said. “The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employ rigorous regulatory processes before vaccines are authorized. Parents should also keep in mind that the consequences of COVID-19 infection outweigh any risk of anticipated side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.” So what’s next? The White House says once approved, vaccines for children under five could begin to be distributed the week of June 19.