Now is the Time for Kids 12+ to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
Michael Cinoman, MD, executive medical director of pediatric services, covers the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines for kids in this 2 Your Well-Being discussion with WFMY News 2.
When should kids ages twelve and up get the vaccine? Should they get it now or closer to school time?
“We recommend that everyone get vaccinated as soon as they possibly can. The sooner they're vaccinated, the sooner they are protected, the sooner they can go back to life as normal and our pandemic goes into the rear-view mirror.”
Do you need to space COVID-19 vaccines out with the kids' other vaccines for back-to-school? Is it OK to get them all at once?
“It is absolutely okay to do it all at once. That was a question that I think everyone had at the beginning and we weren't sure – but right now, recommendations are that are that you should absolutely be able to get all the vaccines you want at the same time, including the COVID vaccine. There should be no ill or additional effects from that.”
What have we learned since the vaccine first became available?
“I think there's a lot of experience in a lot of people. 177 million Americans – these people in the United States have already been vaccinated with the COVID vaccine and many more have even received one of the two doses. So, we've developed a lot more experience in terms of the side effects and the profile of a vaccine and, indeed, it's efficacy.
Can parents just take their kids to the pediatrician's office? Do they have to make a special appointment?
“Currently, you still sort of have to make a special appointment. The vaccine is a little bit more complicated to handle than most of the other pediatric vaccines. So, Cone Health has tried to make it as easy as possible… you can either go to the website, conehealth.com/vaccine, or the phone number… call 336-890-1188 and schedule an appointment, and your vaccine for your 12 to 17 year old will be scheduled in one of our four pediatric practices where people, obviously, are familiar with children and giving shots to at teens and adolescents.”
Is there a possible link between heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccines?
“There does appear to be an association for developing heart inflammation after receiving the second dose of the COVID vaccine. It's not just in adolescents – it occurs in people of all ages, but it does appear to be more common in the younger populations. But the important message is and the important facts are that it is still extraordinarily, extraordinarily rare. Of all those 150 to 70 million vaccines that we've given, there have been 300-some-odd cases of documented heart inflammation after the vaccine. That's an incredibly, incredibly small percentage – and there is other good news. Heart inflammation, obviously, can make people very uncomfortable, and it sounds like it is life threatening, and in some cases, viral infections of the heart are very serious. This appears to be very self-limiting. Everybody who has gotten this has recovered. Some have been hospitalized but have gone home and as far as we know, every single person that has experienced this has fully recovered from getting it.”