Arkansas kids brace for childhood vaccine questions / Public News Service

The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were cleared over the weekend for use in children under five by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Parents likely have questions, and at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, healthcare professionals are gearing up to answer them.

The FDA said both vaccines are likely to protect children under five from serious COVID-related illness, hospitalization and death. For the week ending June 9, children accounted for nearly 14% of reported weekly COVID cases.

Dr. Jessica Snowden, division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, thinks the expanded access could help reduce cases.

“There are a lot of kids developing ‘long COVID’ syndrome that we’re still trying to figure out how to treat and prevent,” Snowden pointed out. “So far, the only thing we know that lowers your chances of getting it is getting vaccinated. For many parents, this is going to be an important step in protecting their children as we navigate through the pandemic. “

Parents are advised to consult their child’s pediatrician and take other health precautions to prevent the spread of any virus, from covering coughs and sneezes to ‘masking’ if local guidelines suggest so. As of June 2, more than 400 deaths of children under four were COVID-related, according to the CDC.

For parents deciding if the vaccine is a good decision for their young children, Snowden pointed to his own experience as a parent and doctor, seeing children who have been in the intensive care unit with long-term COVID symptoms. term.

“Especially knowing that we don’t have good treatments for this virus yet; it’s not like an ear infection, where I can give you antibiotics, and you’ll be fine,” Snowden pointed out. “If your child gets sick, there are limited things we can do to help them. If I can help a family avoid this, vaccination is the best way to do it.”

Pfizer’s vaccine will be offered to children aged six months to four years, while Moderna’s is for children aged six months to five years.

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