To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate, that is NOT the question. The question is, when and where may I get my covid vaccine?
The past year has brought most of us to our emotional limits and ramped up anxiety and stress. For many of us, the COVID vaccine is like the sun coming out at the end of an apocalyptic movie. It feels like a sign of hope. For others of us, the vaccine is anything but…….
Looking at the Evidence
As I tell my children, let’s look at the evidence. Let’s push the worries to the side and look at the evidence surrounding why or why not one should get the vaccine. If you make a pros and cons list, however, you need to make sure you equally consider the danger and long-term sequelae of COVID as having equal potential risk to any risk of the vaccine. It isn’t fair to look at the argument one-sided. Once you do that, your perspective may shift.
What is one of the first things people worry about in regards to the COVID vaccine? The concern is that it is “rushed/pushed through”. Yes, the vaccine itself was made quickly, but the research behind the vaccine had mostly been done and was just sitting waiting to be used. Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, research had been extensively done regarding the structure and function of the coronavirus that caused SARS and MERS. Given that there was already a large body of knowledge that had been acquired over many years (not rushed), the development of the COVID 19 vaccine was able to be accelerated.
Let’s look at some statistics. (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7002e1.htm)
In December of 2020, Pfizer had 175 cases of severe allergic reaction out of 1,893,360 first doses administered. For 4,041,396 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dose administrations in December 2020 and January 2021, only 10 cases of anaphylaxis were reported
To put these numbers in perspective, let’s look at the tetanus vaccine. Most individuals don’t question getting the vaccine despite the risk for a reaction because the alternative to the tetanus vaccine is death if infection. The tetanus vaccine has around a 1% risk of severe allergic reaction with every million tetanus doses administered. Assuming these statistics are correct, the COVID 19 vaccine has fewer severe allergic reactions than the tetanus vaccine.
It is important to understand this perspective because we should be looking at the COVID vaccine the same way. If your chance of severe allergic reaction is less than 1%, and the alternative could be death, then the vaccine makes so much more sense. Given that we don’t understand why COVID affects some younger individuals much more severely than we would expect, one can’t just make the argument that they are young and healthy and don’t have risk. Most likely a younger individual doesn’t have as much risk, but do you really want to play Russian roulette with the possibility of severe long-term disease or death?
All of our employees at Doctors’ Pediatric are immunized. We strongly recommend that anyone who is eligible for the vaccine get vaccinated.
A Few Quick Notes
- If you are a breastfeeding mother, it is recommended by the Academy of Breastfeeding, ACOG, and AAP that you receive the vaccine.
- The Pfizer vaccine is currently eligible for teens from age 16 and up. The Moderna vaccine is approved for age 18 and up.
- Clinical trials are currently going on for children age 12 and up with Pfizer. Moderna has started a clinical trial with younger children and even infants.
- It is difficult to know when the vaccines will be released for children, but according to the AAP, it is possible that some children younger than 16 will be vaccinated before the school year starts in the fall.
- According to ACOG, pregnant girls/women should receive the COVID vaccine if eligible.
- Despite being vaccinated, it is important to still maintain distance and mask while in public.
- Initial data shows that the vaccine not only protects against contracting COVID but also decreases transmission. We are still unsure, however, how much the vaccine helps to prevent transmission.
Sports and COVID
There are new recommendations stating that children need to be cleared for sports after having a known COVID infection. There are different levels of investigation that need to occur for each patient before clearance may occur. Please call us so that we may follow the right protocol when evaluating your child for sports clearance.