Everything about this virus is unpredictable. And we need to do everything we can to protect ourselves and to protect our children against what this virus is very capable of doing. — Dr. David Kimberlin, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Everything about this virus is unpredictable. And we need to do everything we can to protect ourselves and to protect our children against what this virus is very capable of doing. — Dr. David Kimberlin, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

It's the 8th highest killer of kids in this age group over the past year. The use of this vaccine will prevent deaths, ICU admissions and will prevent significant long-term adverse outcomes in children. — Dr. Amanda Cohn, Chief Medical Officer for the Vaccine Task Force and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
It's the 8th highest killer of kids in this age group over the past year. The use of this vaccine will prevent deaths, ICU admissions and will prevent significant long-term adverse outcomes in children. — Dr. Amanda Cohn, Chief Medical Officer for the Vaccine Task Force and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Some parents want to wait to vaccinate their kids. Here's why doctors say do it now
COVID-19 shots for kids are on their way, and Dr. Ibukun Kalu, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at Duke University says, some parents she's talked with aren't sure how they feel about that.

"Now that this option is becoming a reality, parents are now weighing that decision of, vaccinate or not, as we're reaching a point in the pandemic where it seems that case rates have either plateaued or declined quite significantly in a lot of areas," she says. "Which is a good thing, but it puts us in an interesting quandary."

Polls show many parents are on the fence about whether and when to vaccinate their younger kids.

It's true that most children infected with the virus have only mild symptoms and children rarely die from the disease. But scientists and health officials recommending the shot emphasize that vaccination could prevent many infections, as well as disruptions to schooling, hospitalizations and rare but severe complications of the disease.

More than 8,300 kids aged 5 to 11 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 due to serious illness. According to a CDC analysis, the number of children and adolescents admitted to the hospital increased nearly five-fold over the summer months amid the delta surge.

In addition, more than 5,200 children and teens have developed MIS-C, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a condition linked to COVID-19 which often leads to ICU admission. The median age of kids getting MIS-C is 9 years old.

It's hard to predict which kids who get COVID-19 will be struck with severe COVID-19 or MIS-C. In one CDC analysis of hospitalization records, roughly 30% of kids hospitalized with COVID-19 had no underlying health conditions that would have put them at increased risk.

"Everything about this virus is unpredictable," says Dr. David Kimberlin, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "And we need to do everything we can to protect ourselves and to protect our children against what this virus is very capable of doing."

Black, Native American, and Hispanic children were three times more likely to be hospitalized than white children, according to the CDC.

At least 791 children have died from COVID-19, including 172 children ages 5 to 11. "I have sat beside the bed of patients who are struggling to breathe," says Kimberlin. His hospital has treated many adolescents who were old enough to be vaccinated, but hadn't been, and ended up on ventilators or ECMO. In this situation, he says, parents are grieving. "And in the back of their mind, they also know they could have been prevented," Kimberlin says.

For some clinicians, the argument for vaccination comes down to the idea that no child should ever die from a disease that could have been prevented by simply getting a shot. "COVID-19 is now a vaccine preventable disease from my perspective," said Dr. Amanda Cohn, during last week's FDA advisory committee that voted in favor of authorizing the vaccine for younger kids.

"It's the 8th highest killer of kids in this age group over the past year," Cohn said. "The use of this vaccine will prevent deaths, ICU admissions and will prevent significant long-term adverse outcomes in children."
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/11/03/1051299050/covid-vaccine-kids-5-11