When my kids were little, I faced the same decision millions of parents face today.
Do I allow my children to be immunized with a vaccine that has just recently been approved?
About 30 years ago, a whole slew of new vaccines for infants were introduced, including Hib, Hepatitis B and chickenpox. They had all been tested and vetted over several years. I reviewed the science and I trusted it, so my wife and I decided to have our kids immunized. The only vaccine they missed out on was chickenpox; they came down with it before they could get the shot.
Here’s the difference between the choice we made in the early 90s and the one parents are making today.
When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, parents have much greater reason to feel confident. The vaccine has been through clinical trials, but also so much real-world experience. Almost 5 billion people worldwide are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In the US, 23 million kids aged 5-17 are fully vaccinated. The vaccine has proven to be safe and effective for all those people. And now the science shows us it’s safe and effective for kids 6 months and older as well.
Many parents are jumping at the chance to get their kids immunized against COVID. They’ll feel better about sending their kids to school and daycare knowing they’re protected. Other parents wonder why their little ones even need the vaccine. Isn’t COVID a threat to older folks?
It’s important to know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some kids who get COVID can get very sick, and in rare situations, they can die. Children, like some adults, can also experience what’s known as “long COVID.” The COVID vaccine will help protect kids from all these scenarios.
Parents should always be cautious and informed about anything related to their child’s wellbeing. It’s good to have healthy skepticism, to ask questions. That’s what I did when my kids were young. That’s what my friends and colleagues are doing now. The vast majority of doctors I know are getting their children, 6 months and older, immunized. The benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination are too good to pass up.