Why are some parents hesitant about the vaccine?
It’s not as if vaccinating children is something new. We vaccinate children against polio, measles, smallpox, and many other viruses. In order for a child to go to public school, a child must be vaccinated.
I’m old enough to remember the fight over the polio vaccine. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia writes that some parents could not wait for the vaccine to be released.
“Parents were scared of the polio epidemics that occurred each summer; they kept their children away from swimming pools, sent them to stay with relatives in the country, and clamored for an understanding of the spread of polio. They waited for a vaccine, closely following vaccine trials and sending dimes to the White House to help the cause. When the polio vaccine was licensed in 1955, the country celebrated, and Jonas Salk, its inventor, became an overnight hero.”
Yet, that is certainly not the response that we are hearing today to COVID-19. Why?
To be honest, yes, there was some resistance to the polio vaccine in the 50’s, but absolutely nothing like we are seeing today with COVID-19.
So, why are parents afraid of the COVID-19 vaccine? Again, misinformation has created fear.
Since we do not want to rely on misinformation from social media, let’s search for the facts so we can make an informed decision about what is best for children.
Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a specialist in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Child Health Advocacy, encourages all parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. She explains the importance:
“Many thousands of children have been hospitalized and children in this age group have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic. Children also do spread the disease so anything we can do to lessen the illness, the better off we will be. …it's also important to know that MIS-C, the severe post-COVID illness seen in children, is most common in this age group.”
On social media, others are saying but children do not get as sick and besides COVID is over—done, finished. Is it? The numbers are lower, but does that actually mean that COVID-19 is over? Unfortunately, we still have children getting sick and dying.
- Just this last week an 11-year-old died from COVID-19 in Kentucky.
- A 10-year-old girl died in Virginia in late September from COVID-19 after being sick for only 5 days.
The Internet is also saying that children do not get as sick from Covid, but is that true?
- A 10-year-old boy in Missouri tested positive for Covid-19 the beginning of October, was hospitalized with pneumonia and acute respiratory failure, and eventually had to be placed on the ECHO machine. His mother said that the ECHO machine saved her son’s life, but now he’s having to relearn how to walk, eat, and even talk because his vocal cords were paralyzed during treatment. The boy was eager to take the vaccine and had just been waiting till it was approved. Unfortunately, while he was waiting, he almost died. The child explained to his mother:
“I wish I could have had that [the vaccine] and I probably wouldn’t be like this right now.”
Needless to say, this mother encourages every parent to get their child vaccinated as soon as possible.
Another mother calling for parents to get their children vaccinated did the research to learn more about the vaccine her daughter would be taking. She didn’t rely on social media; she searched for the facts. She said,
“I am aware that my daughter was not at high risk for complications or hospitalization from COVID-19. That doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods. While my eagerness to get her vaccinated was motivated in part by a desire to prevent long-haul symptoms … [and to keep safe] those people in our lives who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19.
“Before vaccines like this ever reach the pediatric phase, even in emergency situations, significant research has already been done to ensure safety. mRNA vaccines have been studied for upwards of 30 years, and we’ve been researching the Coronavirus family of viruses for even longer, so the science isn’t new. By the time my daughter got her first dose of Pfizer vaccine, we already had more than a year worth of research for this particular vaccine under our belt.
“Regarding side effects, vaccines are different from over-the-counter medications … But with vaccines, side effects present within a matter of weeks, not over the course of years, because the vaccine introduces new information to the immune system and then leaves the body.
“No vaccine in history has resulted in side effects that suddenly appeared years after injection.
“My child’s DNA has not been altered. Her arm is not magnetized. Nor has she developed any new access to 5G. Much to her dismay, when she gets an attitude, she cannot use her injection site to access the internet after I turn off the WiFi.”
This parent’s article is marked as an “opinion,” as it should be. She’s just a parent, not an expert in the field, but she has taken the time to seek out “real” information and facts. She has not taken her information from social media. She went to the doctors and to actual research sites. This is what we all need to do.
If you want to know if the vaccine is safe for children, don’t turn to social media, search for the truth.
1. No, children do not receive the same dose as adults.
The CDC explains the policy:
“Children 5 through 11 years old will receive a separate vaccine formulation denoted with an orange cap of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine that has one-third the dose given to adolescents and adults, and will receive the vaccine with a smaller needle.”
2. Yes, COVID-19 is still dangerous for children.
Let's look at an excellent article that speaks directly to parents with children in this age group. Dr. Tina Tan, M. D., a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at Northwestern and Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago says that parents should not wait and get their children vaccinated later. They should vaccinate now.
“You can't wait until millions and millions of doses are given before you decide, because this virus is going to take every opportunity it can to infect someone… Even though COVID-19 cases are trending downward, 90% of counties in the U.S. are still classified by CDC as having “high” or “substantial” viral spread.
“Because the delta variant is that much more transmissible, kids can get delta and can get quite sick from it…. You cannot predict — in a normal healthy child — who's going to get very sick and who's not. [Vaccinating] is the best way to protect your child against getting severe COVID illness.”
3. Here’s a video that destroys some of those social media false statements.
If we want children to be back in school, and stay in school so they can learn to read, it would make a big difference for them to be vaccinated. Reading is the key to success!
Don't delay and do not rely on misinformation from social media; search for the facts so that you can make an informed decision. Stop sharing false information. Encourage others to search for the truth as well.