This week, younger children can get the COVID-19 vaccine, and many parents are asking questions about its different doses, side effects, and more.
“We’re excited, which may be an unpopular opinion, but my husband and I have both been vaccinated,” said Breanne Pelissier, a mother of two.
“The more we can work together as a community to help protect vulnerable people the better and I think our kids are a part of that,” said Piper, a mother of one.
We spoke to several parents about their concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, and one of the big questions was about side effects.
“So we’re talking a little bit of pain, maybe a little bit of body aches, in some cases a slight fever, so those are to be expected,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, director of public health in Santa Barbara County.
For children aged five to eleven, the vaccine syringe is smaller and so is the dose.
The dosage reflects the maturity of the child’s immune system, according to Dr. Do-Reynoso.
“The dosage is different. It is 1/3 of the normal adult dose. It comes to providers in a specially marked vial with a different color so that the supplier giving it clearly knows it’s different,” said Dr. Do-Reynoso.
“I think we’ve found that the side effects are not so concerning that the benefits really outweigh the potential risks,” Piper said.
Children aged 12 to 18 receive the same dose as an adult.
‘Perhaps you can get it from the pharmacy, from your GP or from a clinic at school. All of these will be staffed by medical professionals who will observe your child and be very alert to any potential side effects or adverse reactions, so parents should feel reassured by that,” Dr. Do-Reynoso explained.
County officials don’t currently expect children to need vaccine boosters, she said.
Officials from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties say the goal is for 80 percent of local children to be vaccinated as soon as possible.