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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Washoe County pediatricians share the questions they’re getting about the COVID vaccine for kids

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – The arrival of child-sized covid-19 vaccines has pediatricians in Washoe County flooded with questions.

While many parents and guardians are wondering where they can find the vaccine and fast, others have questions about safety and effectiveness.

A common one for parents is ‘If COVID is mild for most kids, do they really need a COVID-19 vaccine?’ According to local doctors, the answer is ‘Yes.’

“We’ve had 680 kids across the country die of COVID and kids aren’t supposed to die,” said Dr. Krista Colletti, pediatrician at Aspen Pediatrics. “One of those kids was my patient so, I’m not okay about this.”

“When you have tons of kids who are getting infected, you’re going to have a small percentage of those kids who get very sick, and any preventable death is completely unacceptable to us,” said Dr. Christina Raman, physician and owner of Summit Pediatrics.

As for concerns about heart inflammation known as Myocarditis, the CDC says there have been rare cases, mostly among male teens and young adults. It also says the risk of heart inflammation from having COVID-19 is higher.

“If you get Myocarditis from the COVID infection it lasts a lot longer, some kids don’t fully recover from that, it’s a much bigger deal,” said Dr. Raman. “Whereas the kids who have gotten myocarditis from the vaccine itself, again very rare, it’s been short-lived and they’ve had a complete recovery.”

After the spike in cases we saw last winter, both Dr. Colleti and Raman say it is important to have kids protected. So, if your child is eleven years old and won’t turn 12 in a couple months, they recommend to not wait.

“The reason that they cut the dose for the little kids is that their immune systems are much more active, you know, they make great antibodies so even in the older kids in that age group, the 11 year-olds, when they checked them for antibodies, they had great response,” said Dr. Colleti.

If your child had COVID, the recommendation is to still get them vaccinated, as Dr. Colleti says there is still not enough data about how long antibody protection last.

“The point is protecting them against severe illness,” said Dr. Raman. “ I can walk out here and come down with COVID, but I’m likely to do perfectly fine because I’m protected with the immunity of the vaccine.”

To those who believe the vaccine has been rushed, Dr. Raman says, studies on this vaccine started during the SARS outbreak and this is the first real world application of it.

Both doctors are hoping to get doses of the vaccine this week and will be getting their own children vaccinated.

They recommend that parents talk about the decision with their pediatricians.

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