Your Questions About Covid Vaccine Dosage for Children, Answered

Children ages 5 to 11 could also be eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine by early next month: two photographs spaced three weeks aside. But not like youngsters 12 and older, who get the identical dosage as adults, the youngsters within the youthful age group will obtain 10 micrograms of vaccine per dose, or one-third the quantity {that a} 12-year-old would get.

This has created some confusion for mother and father of 11-year-olds on the cusp of turning 12. Is it finest to carry out for the bigger dose? Or is it higher to get the smaller dose immediately? Does the burden or top of the kid make any distinction?

Five specialists in immunology and infectious ailments agreed: The acceptable dosage is finest decided by a baby’s age — not their measurement. So in case your 11-year-old is ready to get the shot beginning in November, do it immediately moderately than ready for your youngster to show 12.

The virus isn’t going away anytime quickly, they stated. And completely different variants may doubtlessly make the virus extra infectious or harmful, stated Donna L. Farber, a professor of microbiology and immunology on the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The sooner your youngster might be vaccinated the higher, the specialists stated. The shot drastically reduces the prospect of changing into severely unwell from Covid and curbs the probability of getting contaminated within the first place after which passing that an infection to others.

“Just do it,” Dr. Farber stated.

Although many youngsters who contract the virus will recuperate simply, “we cannot predict who is going to be very sick,” stated Dr. Octavio Ramilo, chief of infectious ailments at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University.

More than 1,000 youngsters have been hospitalized from Covid at Nationwide over the past yr and a half, he added, and roughly half of them had been beforehand wholesome.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of drugs and an infectious ailments skilled on the University of California, San Francisco, stated her youthful son, who is popping 12 in February, will get vaccinated as quickly as potential.

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

The two-dose 10 microgram shot within the vaccine trial of 5- to 11-year-olds had a virtually 91 percent efficacy rate, indicating it is rather efficient at stopping symptomatic an infection in younger youngsters. In addition, there weren’t any new or sudden unintended effects or security issues, in line with a Food and Drug Administration evaluation of Pfizer’s vaccine knowledge.

It doesn’t matter whether or not your youngster is smaller or bigger than different youngsters their age in the case of vaccines, the specialists stated.

Weight is a crucial issue whenever you give a younger youngster medicine like Tylenol as a result of there’s a broad variation in weight from infancy all through childhood and an excessive amount of of the drug may very well be poisonous.

The optimum vaccine dose, nonetheless, depends on age and tailor-made to reduce potential unintended effects. A small 5-year-old and a big 5-year-old may have immune methods which can be “functionally similar,” stated Dr. David J. Rawlings, chief of the division of immunology at Seattle Children’s Hospital and director of the Center for Immunity Immunotherapies at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

And youngsters within the 5 to 11 age group “have a really robust immune system,” he added. That means they will get a decrease vaccine dose than these within the 12 to 17 age group and nonetheless produce the identical variety of antibodies.

What to Know About Covid-19 Booster Shots

The F.D.A. has licensed booster photographs for thousands and thousands of recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna recipients who’re eligible for a booster embody individuals 65 and older, and youthful adults at excessive danger of extreme Covid-19 due to medical circumstances or the place they work. Eligible Pfizer and Moderna recipients can get a booster at the least six months after their second dose. All Johnson & Johnson recipients will probably be eligible for a second shot at the least two months after the primary.

Yes. The F.D.A. has up to date its authorizations to permit medical suppliers to spice up individuals with a unique vaccine than the one they initially acquired, a technique referred to as “mix and match.” Whether you acquired Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer-BioNTech, you could obtain a booster of every other vaccine. Regulators haven’t advisable anyone vaccine over one other as a booster. They have additionally remained silent on whether or not it’s preferable to stay with the identical vaccine when potential.

The C.D.C. has stated the circumstances that qualify an individual for a booster shot embody: hypertension and coronary heart illness; diabetes or weight problems; most cancers or blood problems; weakened immune system; persistent lung, kidney or liver illness; dementia and sure disabilities. Pregnant ladies and present and former people who smoke are additionally eligible.

The F.D.A. licensed boosters for employees whose jobs put them at excessive danger of publicity to doubtlessly infectious individuals. The C.D.C. says that group contains: emergency medical employees; schooling employees; meals and agriculture employees; manufacturing employees; corrections employees; U.S. Postal Service employees; public transit employees; grocery retailer employees.

Yes. The C.D.C. says the Covid vaccine could also be administered with out regard to the timing of different vaccines, and lots of pharmacy websites are permitting individuals to schedule a flu shot concurrently a booster dose.

As an added bonus, with the 10-microgram dose researchers saw less fever and chills after the second dose among the many 5- to 11-year-olds than they noticed within the older youngsters who acquired larger doses.

At larger doses, the researchers noticed extra unintended effects within the youthful youngsters.

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

Once a baby enters puberty, “there are changes in the immune response,” Dr. Rawlings stated, and their immune system turns into extra like that of an grownup. The cutoff of 12 was considerably arbitrary, he added, however basically, as youngsters become old they’ve an immune system that turns into much less environment friendly than that of youthful youngsters, therefore the necessity for an even bigger dose.

“From our studies in immune development, your immunological adulthood is much earlier than 18,” Dr. Farber stated.

Another vital consideration: Vaccine doses are spaced three weeks aside and it takes two weeks for the safety to completely set in after getting the second dose. So for those who deliberate to attend, say, two months for your youngster to show 12, you would wish to think about an extra 5 weeks earlier than your youngster was absolutely protected.

It’s a chance that’s not price taking, stated Dr. Matthew P. Kronman, the affiliate medical director of an infection prevention at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“That would be like saying: OK, we’re going to drive to Grandma’s house and I’m going to wait 50 miles before putting my seatbelt on and I’ll just wear it for the last 50 miles. It doesn’t make a lot of logical sense,” Dr. Kronman stated. “It’s better to get the protection now that we know will work, based on the age.”

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