With summer coming to an end and preparation for in-person activities to resume, one question on everyone’s mind is how do we protect our children from COVID-19 and the variants of the virus?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recognizes the importance of kids going back to school, but recommends that they do so with added layers of protection. While masking, distancing, handwashing and sanitizing regularly is reinforced, the vaccine is available to those ages 12 and older, and is the most effective method of prevention.
If you are hesitant to vaccinate yourself or your children, here are a few things to consider:
- While no vaccine can guarantee you will not be infected with COVID-19, being vaccinated is proven to minimize your symptoms and prevent hospitalization and severe illness, including intensive care and death.
- Those who are young and healthy can still experience severe complications of a COVID-19 infection.
- If you are a carrier of the virus, it will not only affect yourself, but those around you as well.
- The vaccine is no longer experimental for those who are currently eligible because the clinical trial has ended and it has been authorized for emergency use. The clinical trial is when the vaccine is closely monitored for adverse effects. The Food and Drug Administration has a comprehensive reporting system where anyone can still report any adverse effects for thorough investigation.
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive, it is still recommended that you get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also visit Valley Children’s COVID-19 Information Center for more information.
- Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a serious condition where body parts, including the heart and lungs, can be inflamed. MIS-C is a post-infectious complication of COVID-19 and doctors, including those at Valley Children’s, have found that children diagnosed with MIS-C have either been sick with COVID or have had an asymptomatic infection. Evidence of infection in these children is seen by either testing positive for COVID or the antibody to COVID, indicating prior infection.
- There have been cases where kids and young adults have experienced self-limited myocarditis after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. These symptoms are short-lived and can include chest pain, rapid or abnormal heart rate, shortness of breath and fatigue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated that because the impact of COVID-19 is far more severe, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risk.
If you are already vaccinated, lost your vaccine card and need vaccine verification or a new card, you can:
- Contact the California Immunization Registry (CAIR) by clicking here or by calling 1-800-578-7889 if you received one or more doses through the State of California’s MyTurn system.
- If you received one or more doses at Valley Children’s Hospital, your vaccine information is available through MyChart or by contacting us at 559-353-5404.
Currently, the Delta variant is one of several SARS-CoV-2 variants and is significantly more infectious than anything we have seen yet. It is important as we embark on end of summer activities and the start of school to take appropriate precautions to keep your family safe and healthy.
Contact your doctor to address any questions or concerns you have about the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also learn more here or by contacting our COVID-19 hotline at 888-286-9336 or at 559-353-3333.
About the Author
Board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, Dr. Lerraughn Morgan joined Valley Children’s as a pediatric cardiologist at the Willson Heart Center in 2019.