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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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What parents need to know about vaccinating children ages 12 and older

vaccine
Posted at 4:35 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 16:35:18-04

(WSYM) — Now that the FDA has extended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to include children 12 to 15, parents are trying to decide if vaccination is the right decision for their child.

Some parents are eager to get their teen vaccinated. Others have concerns. And one key concern I’d like to address is long-term effects.

I’m a Dad, and as a parent, our job is to keep our kids safe. So I can understand why some parents may be hesitant about getting their kids vaccinated for COVID-19. After all, the vaccine is new to this age group. So how do we know if it does or doesn't cause long-term effects?

Well, I’ll be honest – we are not 100% certain that there’ll be zero long-term effects. However, we have plenty of past experience with many other vaccines. And what science tells us, is that adverse effects almost always appear in the first six weeks after being immunized. And it’s highly unlikely that long-term effects will develop years later.

Blood clots are not associated with Pfizer’s vaccine. It’s only associated with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. And that’s because the technologies are different.

As for side effects, it’s the same as what’s been seen in adults. So sore arm, fatigue, muscle aches, and fever. But parents, please don’t avoid the vaccine just because there’s a possibility that your child may not feel all that great for 24 to 48 hours.

Now, there are a couple of other things I feel parents should know. First of all, if you’re one of those parents who believes that your child doesn’t need to be vaccinated because they’re low risk, I want you to know that they are not immune. There are thousands of children that have been hospitalized and hundreds have died.

Another thing is that we all know kids can spread the virus. So getting them vaccinated not only helps protects the child, but it also helps protect all the people around them, especially older adults like grandparents.

Lastly, I think it’s a good idea to hear what your younger teen thinks about getting vaccinated. If they’re like my kids, they’ll have an opinion. And they’re likely in favor of getting vaccinated because they want to hang out with all their friends and lead a normal life again.

Remember, the more kids that are vaccinated, the closer we’ll are to herd immunity. And the less spread we have, the more life will return to normalcy for everyone.

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