A Tallahassee pediatrician says the COVID vaccine is a good choice for most kids
Coronavirus cases throughout Florida are dropping, Dr. Thomas Truman says that doesn’t make getting vaccinated any less important — even for young children.
Coronavirus cases throughout Florida are dropping, but doctors say that doesn’t make getting vaccinated any less important — even for kids.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in ages 5 to 11. Shots for that vaccine are expected to become available as early as next week following approval Tuesday night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr.Thomas Truman, a pediatric critical care specialist, says vaccines are a good choice for most people.
“I still strongly believe that everyone is going to be affected by this virus. You’re going to develop immunity one way or the other — either through the vaccine or through getting the virus itself," Truman says. "Everything that we know and learn is there’s a lot more likelihood of severe complications if you get the disease if that’s how you want to get your immunity is by getting the disease then you’re just taking a bigger chance.”
Truman says he believes vaccines are a safer choice for most eligible children even as side effects in some teens are reported.
“Will there be some side effects to the vaccinations? Of course, there always are. But what we do know is that when we do see those side effects, even when we do see myocarditis from the vaccine, it’s very mild and its very short term and children and young adults get over it very quickly as opposed to the myocarditis that we see with the (multisystem inflammatory syndrome). That tends to be a lot more severe. So the vaccine just make entire sense,” Truman says.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart. It’s showing up in some boys and young men--especially those who are age 16 to 19 after they finish their second round of a coronavirus vaccine. But expects say the risk of that remains low. And Truman says from what he’s seeing, patients are recovering from that side effect fairly quickly. He says side effects tend to be riskier for unvaccinated teens and children who can get multi-system inflammatory syndrome after being infected by the coronavirus.
“Around two to six weeks after becoming exposed and infected by the coronavirus, the childrens’ immune systems kind of go haywire and they develop this multisystem inflammatory response where their GI tract, their intestines, their lungs, sometimes their kidneys, a lot of times their heart becomes infected and they can actually develop myocarditis and those are the cases that we’ve been treating due to the surge in mid-August," Truman says.
Truman also says doesn’t think counting on herd immunity is a great plan. He estimates it’s likely a long way off.
“A lot of the percentages that we’ve heard about herd immunity when we look at the number of people vaccinated, that just has included the eligible population — the 50, 60 percent numbers that we are hearing around the country," Truman says. "That doesn’t include children and children are part of our herd and so until we approach the 70, 80, 90 percent. My gut tells me we’re not really close to herd immunity yet.”
Experts say anyone with questions about whether a vaccine is right for their child should talk to a doctor.
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