COVID-19 Vaccine Update
We are incredibly excited that after years of anticipation, a COVID vaccine will now be available for all children 6 months and up. Both Pfizer and Moderna have been approved for emergency use authorization for children 6 months to 5 years old. This is an exciting time for many parents who have been anxiously waiting to protect their little ones.
Please note, that at this time, our office currently plans to offer the Moderna vaccine only. Our decision to offer the Moderna vaccine is based on the data presented from both the FDA and Moderna/Pfizer, as well as the vaccine schedule (a 2-dose series to achieve effective immunity versus a 3-dose series). However, both vaccines were found to be safe should you elect to find a location offering the Pfizer vaccine for this age group.
The dose of the Moderna vaccine for all children 6 months through 5 years old is the same, but much lower than the dose offered to adults. The pediatric version of Moderna’s vaccine has also been offered in other countries such as Europe and Australia without any safety flags.
The approval of the Moderna vaccine was based on age de-escalation trials that met immunobridging. In short, this means that with a smaller dose of vaccine, children had just as much immunity as adults. The most common reported side effects were fever, irritability, drowsiness, pain at the injection site and fatigue. These side effects were more common after the second dose of the vaccine. Once again, there were no cases of myocarditis (heart inflammation) during the trial. We continue to believe that there is a need for children this age to have a safe vaccine available, as 442 children under 4 have died since the beginning of the pandemic from COVID-19. During the Omicron wave, children under 5 had the highest rates of hospitalizations compared to older children, with 1 in 4 hospitalized children eventually needing care in the Intensive Care Unit.
Vaccinating the population at large also makes it much harder for the COVID-19 virus to mutate. New strains have resulted in massive case surges, overwhelmed hospitals and serious outcomes. Vaccinating your children will help stop the spread. Vaccination also helps reduce long term negative outcomes, such as Long COVID which has been seen in children.
As before, we expect a limited supply of vaccine to offer our patients as they become available. Appointments will need to be made separate from a child’s sick or well visit, as the vaccine requires a 15 minutes observation period following administration. Our hope is to eventually have enough vaccine to offer to all interested families, but this may take some time.
If you have questions regarding your child receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, we ask that you schedule a telemedicine visit with your doctor to discuss individual questions.
The last few years have certainly been difficult, but we continue to be awed by the strength and resilience of our patients and their families. We are eternally grateful for the grace you have given to our office as we have tirelessly worked to provide safe, evidence-based care during these most unusual times. Our hope is that this next hurdle will allow our youngest patients to return to some normalcy.
The Doctors of Hamden Pediatrics
Lisa Visscher, MD
Dena Springer, MD
Rachel Boyarsky, MD
Alicia Antman, MD