Parents’ concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids answered

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While plenty of parents are rushing out to have their children as young as five years old vaccinated, there are others holding back.

A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found a quarter of parents said they’d go right away, another 30 percent said they definitely would not, and the other 33 percent were in the wait-and-see crowd.

CBS 17 took their top concerns to Dr. Michael Smith, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Duke Health.

“I’m a parent of an 11-year-old, she has an appointment to get her vaccine next week,” said Smith.

He knows other parents have a lot of questions right now. The KFF survey found 66-percent of them worried about future fertility issues in their child.

“That’s a total myth,” said Smith. He said the vaccine trials proved to be safe for pregnant people and their newborns.

“We’re not seeing any signal that if you got this vaccine while you were pregnant, that you had problems, and certainly people got pregnant after being vaccinated,” he said. Fertility in men isn’t impacted either.

However, 76 percent said they were concerned we don’t know enough about the long-term effects of the vaccine.

“This notion that vaccines somehow lead to long-term consequences has not really been put out in any studies over the years,” Smith explained.

Still, 71 percent of parents said they worried about serious side effects.

“Just like any other pharmaceutical product [they] can have serious side effects. I think there are really two that have shown up,” Smith said.

Those are allergic reactions and myocarditis. Both treatable. Allergic reactions typically happen immediately following vaccination which is why people are asked to stay for an observational period. Myocarditis, swelling of the heart muscle, is rare and more likely to happen after a COVID-19 infection.

“[Children] are at much lower risk because of their age and they’re much lower risk because of the amount of antigen or mRNA that they’re getting,” said Smith.

Doctors agree the bigger risk is not getting children vaccinated at all.

Researchers have not stopped monitoring safety. Trial participants will be followed for two years. With thousands of more children getting vaccinated over the coming weeks, researchers will be tracking the safety of these vaccines too.

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