Mommy Minute: Dr. Julie Morita answers common questions about kids and the COVID-19 vaccine

Mommy Minute

Dr. Julie Morita, a member of President Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board and executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says she’s encouraged that a vaccine is now available for kids ages five to 11.

“I think we’ve all been waiting for the opportunity for our children to be protected from COVID,” she said.

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But she’s also not surprised that some families are in no rush to get it.

“This is not unlike what we saw early on with the adult vaccination program,” Dr. Morita said. “There was a pretty significant portion of the population that wanted to wait to see what would happen. So I’m not surprised that some parents have some questions about the vaccines.”

Dr. Morita says as more and more kids get the Pfizer shots, more and more families will get off the fence.

So what are the concerns?

For starters, some parents are worried about side effects. But Dr. Morita says in kids, they’re actually pretty mild.

“The most common side effects were soreness at the site, redness at the site, achiness,” she said. “Also children had more systemic type of symptoms like headache or muscle ache.”

Some parents are also concerned about Myocarditis; an inflammation of the heart muscle. Dr. Morita says the risk is actually greater with an infection, like COVID, than it is when getting the vaccine.

“It’s really critical to get vaccinated to prevent disease so that Myocarditis risk is much lower,” she said.

And finally, some parents have raised concerns about fertility issues.

“The fertility issue, I’m not sure where that concern came from but there’s a lot of misinformation about that on the Internet, in regular media, and I think it’s important to know there’s no evidence to suggest these vaccines cause any problems with fertility and so that should just not be a concern,” Dr. Morita said.

She says the bottom line; if you have any questions at all, you should reach out to your child’s pediatrician.

“It’s really important they talk to their health care providers who know their children best,” she said.

For advice from the Centers for Disease Control, click here.

For advice from the PA Department of Health, click here.

For advice from Penn State Health click here.

To learn more about Dr. Morita, click here.

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