(WSYM) — Summer break is in full swing for many families. But parents of unvaccinated adolescents and teens should start thinking about getting their children fully vaccinated before the new school year begins.
I have kids, I get it. Thinking about returning to school does seem a bit premature. When it comes to this virus and getting kids who are eligible vaccinated, you should not wait. It takes 5 weeks to get fully vaccinated. Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one that’s been authorized for kids aged 12 to 17. You get the first shot, then wait three weeks. You get the second shot and then wait two more weeks before you’re fully immunized. Now, another reason to get the shots scheduled, is that I know all too well how busy us parents get before school starts. There’s back-to-school shopping, getting that yearly sports physical, and cramming in the last vacation trips. A huge reason for getting your kids vaccinated now is to protect them from the variants.
In particular, the highly transmissible Delta variant that is expected to become the dominant strain here in the US. And the Delta Plus variant that researchers suspect is better able to attack lung cells.
The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to strongly encourage people 12 and up to get vaccinated. Second, COVID-19 can cause myocarditis. And young people who are NOT vaccinated have a higher risk of heart inflammation if they get COVID, compared to getting vaccinated. The risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following the Pfizer vaccine is very, very low.
When CDC researchers looked at data among males 12 to 17 years of age, they estimated 56 to 69 myocarditis cases might potentially happen per 1 million second-dose vaccinations. They also estimated that 5,700 COVID-19 cases, 215 hospitalizations, 71 ICU admissions, and two deaths could be prevented.
The benefits clearly outweigh the risks. On top of that, most of the patients who developed heart inflammation recover quite quickly. Now, if parents are still concerned, I strongly urge you to speak to your pediatrician who’ll be able to thoroughly answer any questions or concerns.