COVID-19 Vaccination Facts for Parents
What ages are the vaccines authorized for?
As of 5/12/2021, the two-dose Pfizer is authorized for children 12-years-old and over, and two-dose Moderna and one dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen are authorized for those ages 18 years-old and over. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/adolescents.html)
What is the consent process for minors for COVID-19 vaccination?
For children under 18 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Wyoming, at least one parent must give consent. Exceptions to this include emancipated minors according to Wyoming Statute § 14-1-101.
Will COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory for school attendance?
Wyoming currently has no plans to add COVID-19 to school vaccination requirements. Any change to Wyoming school immunization requirements must go through the administrative rules process, which include public notification and comment periods.
Can COVID-19 vaccines cause long-term side effects? How do we know when the vaccines are so new?
COVID-19 vaccines may still feel new, but the science used to develop them is not. In addition, no safety steps were skipped in their development. The vaccine development maintained the same high safety standards required for all vaccines. There was unprecedented investment and streamlining to reduce red tape, but no safety shortcuts. Long-term side effects from vaccines are rare and typically occur within two months of vaccination. From decades of studying other illnesses and the vaccines to help protect against them, scientists and researchers have learned that side effects typically also occur with the diseases themselves. We do know that some children and others can definitely experience serious issues from COVID-19 illness. For more information, we recommend these parent resources: (https://www.aappublications.org/news/2021/03/23/townhall03-18-21,
These vaccines have undergone and continue to undergo intensive safety monitoring. The most updated safety and medical information can be found at the following links:
What about short-term side effects?
No one likes to see their child feel unwell. The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are typically mild and may include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, being tired, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These resolve within a few days and are a sign of your child’s immune system working to build immunity against COVID-19. Many people don’t have any side effects at all and still build immunity against COVID-19.
Will the vaccine affect my child’s fertility in the future?
COVID-19 vaccines will not affect your child’s fertility. Pregnancy itself is a high-risk condition for severe COVID-19, though. A large study of over 35,000 pregnant people who received the COVID-19 vaccines identified no safety concerns. (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2104983)
If I or my child get vaccinated, can we make someone else sick?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the USA are live vaccines. In addition, the mRNA vaccines break down very quickly once inside the body, leaving nothing behind once they teach your cells how to make the spike protein to protect you against COVID-19.
Could my child get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States do not contain any live virus and cannot give your child COVID-19. They only contain the components your child’s immune system needs to build an immune response to help protect them against COVID-19.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD SHOULD GET VACCINATED?
If my child is healthy, what is the benefit of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
Healthy children are also at risk for getting COVID-19 and MISC-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children), a rare but serious condition that can occur after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children/mis-c.html)
If my child has already had COVID-19, should they still get the vaccine?
COVID-19 produces antibodies, but we don’t know exactly how long those antibodies last and we know that people can get COVID-19 again. Vaccination can help prevent children from getting COVID-19 again.
My child needs to have other vaccines for school or sports attendance. Can they receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other childhood vaccinations?
The ACIP has released guidance that supports catching children up with childhood vaccines and allows the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered with routine childhood vaccinations. (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/vacc-specific/covid-19.html, https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2021/05/11/peds.2021-052336)
SAFETY AND VACCINE DEVELOPMENT
Was the vaccine development rushed?
Vaccine development was not rushed. None of the safety steps were skipped and all of the safety phases were completed. Ongoing safety monitoring identifies and quickly responds to questions.
How do I report an adverse reaction to the vaccine if my child has one?
If your child has any side effects that concern you, there are multiple ways you or your child’s healthcare provider can report these concerns immediately. Either a parent or a provider can file a VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) report. In addition, V-Safe is an opt-in smartphone program that allows self-reporting of symptoms. More information about V-Safe can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html
If your child has any symptoms that concern you, please contact their healthcare provider.
Do the vaccines contain fetal cells?
None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain any human cell products. An immortal cell strain known as PER.C6 is used to help produce the Johnson/Janssen vaccine, but no cells are in the vaccine itself. Pfizer and Moderna are not produced using human cell strains. More information about the history of cell strains and immortal cells are available here: (https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/development-approval-process-cber/vaccine-development-101, https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/learn-more-about-covid-19-vaccines-fda)
WHAT WE’RE STILL LEARNING
How effective are the vaccines against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19?
Early data show the vaccines work against some variants but could be less effective against others. However, the vaccines appear to be very effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization even in places where variants are common.
GETTING VACCINATED AND MORE INFORMATION
How do I find a vaccination location for my child?
Wyoming has many choices for where you and your child can be vaccinated! Quick ways to find a vaccine near you:
- Vaccines.gov or vacunas.gov to search and find a vaccine near you.
- Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or 822862 (VACUNA) to find up to three locations near you that have vaccines available.
- Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 for phone-based support locating a vaccination site.
- Visit the Wyoming Department of Health website for county-specific information here: https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/county-covid-19-vaccine-information/
- Contact your or your child’s primary care provider and ask if they are a COVID-19 vaccination provider.
Where can I find more information if I have more questions?
Asking questions is an important part of making healthcare choices. If you have more questions, there are many places to find more information. You can consult your or your child’s primary care provider, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the Wyoming Department of Health website. (https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/)
What activities will be safe for my child and family once vaccinated?
Once you and your child are fully vaccinated, you can resume many of the activities your family loves. The more we learn about COVID-19 and how vaccines protect our communities, the more these guidelines will be expanded. The most current information can be found on the CDC’s page for fully vaccinated people, available here: (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html)
Will vaccines be available for younger children? I would like information about protecting my whole family from COVID-19.
Vaccine authorization is a process with many thoughtful steps. Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are being studied in children aged 6 months and over. For vaccines to be authorized for children in these younger age ranges, the safety phases will all be completed and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will closely review all of the study data. Researchers and scientists want to make sure that when vaccines are authorized, they are safe and effective for children. The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) will continue to share information with parents as it becomes available about this process so you have the information you need to make informed decisions to protect your family.
Pfizer released that they expect to submit an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for children 6 months and over to the FDA by November 2021.
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