Last week, Elizabeth C. Knapp, MD, Pediatrics at ARC Far West, sat down to talk to Spectrum News about the latest news on the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11 years old. This is what she has to say about the efficacy and safety of this shot for children, as well as some well-timed tips for the holidays.
This is an excerpt from the Spectrum News report.
Spectrum News: Dr. Knapp, I know several parents have been calling your office for months asking about a COVID vaccine for younger kids. We are so close to having one right now. For those who are open to getting it for their kids, what does getting the vaccine mean, what can we do what can't we do. Break it down for us.
Dr. Knapp: "Gosh, you know I have seen so many children who are anxious to go back to life before the worry of COVID-19. So, we cannot wait to have our kids being able to be vaccinated and protected against this illness. I don't know if you know but even in our Austin community in a local children's hospital vaccinations really prevented hospitalization. In the kids who are eligible for a vaccination, they were ten times more likely to be in the hospital if they were unvaccinated compared to the kids who were vaccinated. So, we can't wait to have our young children, our 5- to 11-year-olds protected by this vaccine."
SN: So, does it mean that we can ditch the mask, we can have the slumber party, what does it mean in actual practice?
Dr. Knapp: "Right, so we still do recommend the mask, especially in indoor situations. So, if it's a family gathering, it's a slumber party like you said, we still want to be careful in indoor situations, but I think in outdoors there is pretty good data that we are in a safer place. We still recommend that wearing the mask if you're going to be close to other people. But it is much less frightening and less likely to catch the coronavirus or other illnesses when you're outdoors."
SN: Dr. Knapp what other precautions should we take as we head into the holiday season?
Dr. Knapp: "I know we all cannot wait to see our grandparents with our kids there. I still think about making sure with our own patients that they are going to plan to wear the mask around their family members. If they have any kind of cold symptoms, runny nose, even mild things for pediatric patients, we want them to stay away from those who are very high risk for coronavirus."
SN: Anything else parents should know about the vaccine for children, about COVID-19, about any potential surges or variant, anything else you want to share with our families who are watching and really listening for this expert advice and information?
Dr. Knapp: "Absolutely! I want people to know that this is a pediatric disease. Of course, our elderly are most at risk from this illness but still we have lost 500 pediatric age children in the United States to coronavirus. So even though it is very rare that children do get sick, children do go to the hospital and do die from coronavirus. It's going to be protected quite a bit with the vaccine, we think about 90% protection even against the Delta strain with this vaccine in our studies."
Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for children? Visit the ARC COVID FAQ page to learn more.
How and when to schedule the COVID-19 vaccine for 5–11-year-olds
If you are waiting to schedule your 5–11-year-old child's COVID-19 vaccine at ARC, stay informed on the latest updates. Watch for announcements on our COVID Updates web page, or follow us for the latest news on ARC social media—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The process to book the 5-11 COVID-19 vaccines will be same as for kids ages 12-17--available to book through MyChart, with proxy. If a parent does not yet have proxy for their child/children, they can request that on MyChart.
To see the full report from Spectrum News click here.