Parents' Perspective: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
Nov 08, 2021 Katie Rosenblum and Jasmine Aimaq
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. For some parents, this is welcome news and a big relief. Others are left wondering if their kids should get the shot.
It's understandable that some people have reservations about the vaccine, but it's important to remember that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available have been through rigorous safety testing and were required to meet the same standards as other vaccines—such as chickenpox and polio—that have been given to children for many years and are known to be safe and effective.
"The kids are in school and they're in close contact with so many people, so I think this is just such an important step in moving from pandemic to endemic."
There was universal excitement in the air when Cedars-Sinai began administering the vaccines to younger kids.
"I wouldn't wait another day," says Hannah Roth, who brought her two sons on the first day the doses were offered. "We feel like this is part of helping society. The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we are to moving past this current situation."
This was a sentiment shared by Laura Fried, who brought her 5-year-old son Otis for his first shot.
"We knew we were going to get him vaccinated always and we've been really looking forward to it for a long time," Laura says. "We want him to be safe, we want our family to be safe."
Trust the science
At Cedars-Sinai, we believe there are many benefits to kids being vaccinated. The vaccine helps prevent kids from getting COVID-19, and although COVID-19 infection is generally less severe in children than adults, some kids develop lung infections, and can become very sick and require hospitalization.
Children can also have complications that result in long-lasting symptoms. COVID-19 can also cause death in children, although this is less common than for adults.
The vaccine also helps prevent or reduce the further spread of COVID-19. Like adults, a child who is infected can transmit the coronavirus to others, even when they have no symptoms. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can protect not only the child who receives it, but other people too, including family members and friends who may be vulnerable to severe illness.
"The kids are in school and they're in close contact with so many people, so I think this is just such an important step in moving from pandemic to endemic," says Elyssa Getreu, whose 10-year-old daughter was eager to take the first step towards being vaccinated.
Michelle Jones, a project scientist at Cedars-Sinai, was one of the first to arrive with her 10-year-old son, August. She says she scheduled his appointment as soon as it became available because she believes in the science.
"The CDC recently released data showing COVID as the eighth-leading cause of death in children ages 5-11, and that is not trivial," she says. "We actively prevent the other causes of death on that list and COVID is so preventable with a safe vaccine, we should use it and we should protect our children."
The vaccine series consists of two shots, 21 days apart. And while the ingredients are the exact same, the vaccine for children between 5-11 years old is one-third the dose of the vaccine given to people 12 and older.
Schedule an appointment
The vaccine is available for children 5 and older by appointment only at the Cedars-Sinai drive-through clinic from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Vaccine appointments can be made by:
- Logging on to My CS-Link. Patients who don’t already have a My CS-Link account can register at mycslink.org or download the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
- Visiting the California Department of Public Health’s My Turn website to find out where the vaccine is available near you.
- Calling 1-855-427-5465 and asking to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.