Pediatrician Perspective Part 2: should I vaccinate my child?

Last week we shared part 1 of our conversation with Pediatrician and Medical Director at AllWays Health Partners, Dr. Lisa M. Scarfo, MD. Continue reading for part 2 of the interview to learn what Lisa had to say about vaccinating adolescents that have already been exposed, exposure during the summertime, and the research on vaccinating kids ages 12-17.

Q: My child already had COVID-19, and they had no symptoms. Should I still get my child vaccinated?

A: The CDC recommends anyone who has had COVID-19 to get the vaccine. We're not exactly sure how long COVID-19 infection will confirm immunity, and the vaccine could also boost their immune response. That's why it is crucial for everyone, including those who've already had COVID-19, to get vaccinated.

Q: With summer starting, I'm less concerned with my child getting COVID-19 because they aren't in school. Is there any reason I shouldn't wait until the fall to vaccinate my child?

A: You shouldn’t wait. Get your child vaccinated. Even with school not in session, many summer activities may require a COVID-19 vaccine for kids to participate. I wouldn't want a child to miss out on day camp or sporting events because they didn't get vaccinated. Getting kids back into their regular flow of being with their friends—safely—depends on getting everyone vaccinated. We've already seen great success, with fewer and fewer cases every week, in large part due to the number of vaccinated individuals.

Q: I'm hesitant about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine on children. Has there been enough research on adolescents ages 12-17?

A: As a parent, I certainly understand the hesitancy. My children are older now, but I vividly remember concern around the chickenpox vaccine when they were younger. There was a lot of controversy around it, and I remember thinking, what's so bad about the chickenpox? I've had chickenpox, and it's wasn't a big deal. But then, I took care of a family who lost a child from a bacterial infection that happened in the setting of a chickenpox infection. So, it struck me that this was possibly preventable. So now I think of that family every time there's a new vaccine and people wonder why should I do this? When you see one person lose a family member, it puts everything into perspective; this could have possibly been prevented.

We know that hundreds of thousands of people, including children, have died of COVID-19. I understand most of the kids that get COVID-19 do fine and recover, but that's not the case for everybody. Vaccinating as many children that can be vaccinated can help those kids who cannot be vaccinated due to underlying conditions by reducing the spread of infection. I understand the hesitation and concern, but the FDA would not approve the vaccines if any data indicated a safety issue. They don't make these decisions lightly, so I would continue to encourage you to vaccinate your children. I can’t echo this enough, but if you have any concerns, discuss them with your trusted pediatric provider.

These vaccinations are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents over 65,000 pediatric providers across the nation. They work closely with the American College of Immunization Practices, whose mission is to advocate for the health and well-being of children. The more kids that get vaccinated, the safer it will be for everybody. I firmly believe that. I'm grateful the cases continue to drop, and I'm hopeful there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post represents the clinical opinions of the providers at AllWays Health Partners and is based on the most currently available clinical and governmental guidance on COVID-19.

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