Working together to help children learn and grow in a complex world
May. 17, 2021
Q&A on the COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents
By Dr. Nicole Chandler, Canterbury Parent
Is COVID-19 something that people aged 12 to 15 should be concerned about?
Other than protecting my child against COVID-19, are there any other reasons children aged 12-15 should be vaccinated?
- Even children who have minimal symptoms or are completely asymptomatic may pass the disease to others who may be at greater risk of severe illness.
- Currently, about 1 of every 5 newly reported coronavirus infections are in children under the age of 18 years old.
- About 25% of the US population are children; until about 70% of the entire population is immune (either by having COVID-19 or vaccination), the pandemic will continue and life for most will not “return to normal”.
Are COVID-19 vaccines effective in people aged 12 to 15?
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe in people aged 12 to 15? Was the vaccine tested in kids before it’s being offered?
What are the side effects for kids aged 12 to 15?
Is one vaccine type better than any of the others for people aged 12 to 15?
Are there any 12 to 15-year-olds who shouldn’t get the vaccine? Are there any people in this age group who should talk to their doctor before being vaccinated?
Most kids can and should get the vaccine. Contraindications for the vaccine include:
- Known history of severe allergic reaction to a previous COVID-19 vaccine
- Persons with a history of anaphylaxis to another vaccine or injectable therapy should first have a risk assessment before receiving the vaccine.
Will COVID-19 affect a younger person’s fertility in the future?
- False claims have been created and spread on social media about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility. None have been supported with scientific evidence.
- The COVID-19 vaccine only contains mRNA that is quickly removed by the body. It does not contain DNA or live viruses and does not get incorporated into the body’s DNA.
- Millions of people have received the COVID-19 vaccine and infertility has not been a reported side effect.
What about their menstrual cycles - I heard from some friends that the COVID-19 vaccine may affect menstrual cycles
- This was not a reported adverse reaction in the clinical trial of kids 12-15 years old.
- There is no biologic or physiologic pathway to easily connect changes in menstruation to receiving vaccines. However, side effects are being closely followed and reported if they occur.
- Certainly, menstrual cycle characteristics can vary in a person depending on the level of stress that that person is facing. Commonly known examples of stress affecting cycles have been seen with extreme exercise, eating disorders, stress from school/work, etc. Although complaints of menstrual cycle effects have not been seen in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, it is plausible that any illness could theoretically cause temporary stress that may temporarily affect menstrual cycles in some individuals. It is also important to remember that most girls normally have irregular cycles for the first two years of their periods.
If a person aged 12 to 15 has COVID-19 now or had it in the past, should they get the vaccine?
Can a person aged 12 to 15 take their normal medications before the COVID-19 vaccine?
Can/should a person aged 12 to 15 take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or an antihistamine before the COVID-19 vaccine to offset any potential side effects?
Should 12 to 15 year olds stay home from school for any period of time after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
When does my child need to get their first shot this summer (or when’s the latest my child can get their shot) to have full immunity by the time school starts at the end of August?
Does a person aged 12 to 15 still need to wear a mask after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
- The current recommendation is to follow your national and local guidance for mask requirements.
- The exciting news is that the more people that receive the vaccine, the sooner we will be able to not worry about wearing our masks. We have already seen the mask requirements changing frequently over the past few weeks with more people getting vaccinated.
- The initial data on the COVID-19 vaccine shows that it offers protection against becoming ill from the virus and may also prevent people from spreading the COVID-19 virus to others.
If my child has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, does he/she need to quarantine after a known COVID-19 exposure?
How can parents/guardians help those aged 12 to 15 who are curious about vaccination?
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