Your questions about Covid vaccine dose for children answered

Your questions about Covid vaccine dose for children answered

Children aged 5 to 11 may be eligible for the Pfizer BioNTech Covid vaccine until the beginning of next month: two vaccinations three weeks apart. But unlike children 12 years and older who receive the same dose as adults, children in the younger age group receive 10 micrograms of vaccine per dose, or one-third the amount a 12-year-old would receive.

This has caused some confusion among the parents of 11 year olds who are about to turn 12. Is it best to stick with the higher dose? Or is it better to take the smaller dose right away? Does the child’s weight or height make a difference?

Five experts in immunology and infectious diseases agreed: the correct dosage is best based on a child’s age – not their size. So if your 11-year-old is able to have the injection by November, do so now instead of waiting for your child to turn 12.

The virus will not go away anytime soon, it said. And different variants could potentially make the virus more contagious or dangerous, said Donna L. Farber, professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The sooner your child can be vaccinated, the better, the experts said. Vaccination significantly reduces the chance of getting seriously ill with Covid and reduces the chance of getting infected in the first place and then passing this infection on to others.

“Just do it,” said Dr. Farber.

Although many children who contract the virus will recover easily, “we cannot predict who will get very sick,” said Dr. Octavio Ramilo, director of the Infectious Disease Department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Ohio State University.

More than 1,000 children have been hospitalized by Covid at Nationwide in the past year and a half, he added, and about half of them had been previously healthy.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said her younger son, who will turn 12 in February, will be vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Since the 10 microgram dose is so effective, I would stick with that dose for an 11-year-old,” she advised.

The two-dose 10 microgram vaccine in the vaccine study in 5-11 year olds had an efficacy rate of nearly 91 percent, suggesting that it is very effective in preventing symptomatic infection in young children. In addition, there were no new or unexpected side effects or safety concerns, according to a review of Pfizer’s vaccine data by the Food and Drug Administration.

It doesn’t matter if your child is smaller or taller than other kids their age when it comes to vaccines, the experts said.

Weight is an important factor when giving drugs like Tylenol to a young child because weight varies widely from infancy through childhood and too much of the drug could be toxic.

The optimal vaccination dose, however, is age-dependent and tailored to minimize possible side effects. A small 5-year-old and a large 5-year-old have “functionally similar immune systems,” said Dr. David J. Rawlings, director of immunology at Seattle Children’s Hospital and director of the Center for Immunity Immunotherapies at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

And children ages 5-11 “have really robust immune systems,” he added. This means that they can get a lower dose than those of 12-17 year olds and still produce the same number of antibodies.

What you should know about Covid-19 booster shots

The FDA has approved booster vaccinations for millions of recipients of Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna recipients eligible for a refresher include those 65 years of age and younger and younger adults who are at high risk of severe Covid-19 due to medical conditions or their job. Eligible Pfizer and Moderna recipients can receive a booster vaccination at least six months after their second dose. All Johnson & Johnson recipients are entitled to a second admission at least two months after the first.

Yes sir. The FDA has updated their approvals to allow medical providers to replenish people with a different vaccine than the one they originally received, a strategy known as “mix and match”. Whether you received Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer-BioNTech, you can get a booster shot with any other vaccine. Regulators have not recommended any vaccine over any other than a booster. They have also remained silent about whether it is preferable to stick with the same vaccine whenever possible.

The CDC has said that the conditions that qualify a person for a booster vaccination include: high blood pressure and heart disease; Diabetes or obesity; Cancer or blood diseases; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney, or liver disease; Dementia and certain disabilities. Pregnant women as well as current and former smokers are also eligible.

The FDA has approved boosters for workers whose work places them at high risk of exposure to potentially infectious individuals. The CDC says this group includes: emergency medical personnel; Educational workers; Food and agricultural workers; Manufacturing workers; Correction worker; US Postal Service employees; Public transport employees; Grocery store workers.

Yes sir. The CDC says the Covid vaccine can be given regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacies allow people to schedule a flu shot at the same time as a booster dose.

As an added bonus, at the 10 microgram dose after the second dose, the researchers saw fewer fever and chills in the 5-11 year olds than in the older children who received higher doses.

At higher doses, the researchers observed more side effects in the younger children.

The bottom line: the right vaccine dose is not determined by weight and “there are no patient weight requirements for the Covid-19 vaccination,” says the Centers for Disease Control.

Once a child enters puberty, “there are changes in the immune response,” said Dr. Rawlings, and his immune system is more like that of an adult. The limit of 12 is a bit arbitrary, he added, but in general, as children get older, they have immune systems that are less efficient than those of younger children, so a higher dose is required.

“Our immune development studies indicate that your immunological adulthood is much earlier than 18 years old,” said Dr. Farber.

Another important aspect: the vaccine doses are given every three weeks and it takes two weeks for protection to fully kick in after receiving the second dose. So if you wanted to wait two months for your child to turn 12, for example, you would have to allow for another five weeks for your child to be fully protected.

It’s a game of chance not worth it, said Dr. Matthew P. Kronman, assistant medical director for infection prevention at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“That would be like saying, okay, we’re going to Grandma’s house and I’ll wait 80 km before buckling up and I’ll wear it for the last 80 km. It doesn’t make any logical sense, ”said Dr. Kronman. “Better to get the protection now that we know will work based on age.”

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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