Why should I vaccinate my child against COVID?

by Delilah Newton | Aug 17, 2022

I have heard that most cases of COVID in pediatric patients are mild so why should I vaccinate my child against a “mild” illness?  I worry about the side effects of the vaccine causing more issues than getting COVID.

Although it is generally reported that most cases of COVID in pediatric patients are mild, not all cases are. More than 1,300 children have died from COVID or complications from COVID as of the end of July 2022 and more than 10,000 children have been hospitalized. Those at risk of severe illness requiring hospitalization are those with underlying health problems such as asthma, diabetes, obesity or sickle cell disease. About 33 percent of those who have been hospitalized had no underlying condition. The main goal of getting vaccinated is to prevent serious illness that results in hospitalization. Pediatric patients can also develop MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children) which is a condition where multiple body systems become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or intestines. These children can have permanent damage to these organ systems causing lifelong disabilities.

Just like in adults, children can also develop symptoms of long COVID. Some experts estimate that up to 30 percent of children could develop long COVID. These symptoms can also affect a child’s learning. 

Should a child be vaccinated if they have already had COVID? 

We know that children with prior infections may not be protected from future strains, so it is important for your child to be vaccinated even if they have had COVID already.  

Families are also concerned about the possibility of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) caused by the vaccine. Although this was an early concern in young men, those who developed this rare side effect of the vaccine did not require treatment and the symptoms improved on their own. Fortunately, this side effect of the vaccine has not been seen in those less than 12 years of age. What we do know is that if children contract COVID they can have a myocarditis as part of their illness. Those cases of heart inflammation generally require hospitalization and can cause lifelong problems with the heart.  

The best way to protect our loved ones is to get all family members who are eligible vaccinated. I encourage you to speak with your child’s doctor to determine the best approach for protecting your child and family from COVID.

For additional COVID vaccine information, please visit CRH.org/vaccine.

Hartwell, Jennifer 2015_blogJennifer Hartwell, MD
Columbus Regional Health
Columbus Pediatrics 

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