Answering Questions For Parents On Vaccines

ST. JOHNSBURY - As the state of Vermont moves in on getting children vaccinated by the end of December, some parents in the state are hesitant to get their children vaccinated. Northern Vermont Regional Hospitals Dr. Joshua Kantrowitz briefs parents on why this vaccine is safe.

Vermont pediatricians want all kids to get vaccinated across every age group in the State. Dr. Joshua Kantrowitz says that this vaccine could not only help minimize the spread of covid. It can also prevent conditions a child might suffer after they recover from Covid. "We would like to prevent complications like the MISC people know about the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children. Which children can develop if they've had covid, a rare condition but a very serious condition. There is a group of children who have prolonged symptoms from covid after they get it. That's somewhere around seven or eight percent of kids who continue to have symptoms for more than a month," Kantrowitz explained.

Kantrowitz also shares that this new vaccine for children ages 5-11 is ninety percent effective, and during clinical trials the FDA found no serious complications. "There were no cases with severe side effects to the vaccine. There were symptoms that a lot of people have when they get the vaccine. It did show kids could get headaches, muscle aches and pains, feel tired, fever. Which we know is in adults as well." He did like to point out to parents that the dosage for children is much smaller versus the adult dosage.

Kantrowitz says some parents are worried the vaccine will affect their child's fertility and puberty. Many parents are also concerned this process was too rushed. He says the vaccine should not affect children's growth or development besides fighting off an infection. "This has been watched and monitored pretty closely. There has not been any evidence that the vaccine has any effect on puberty or fertility." NVRH pediatrics have also partnered with the gynecology department at the hospital who have also been watching this, and they feel the same way. Hospitals are also suggesting that children with Immunocompromised immune systems get this vaccine, such as kids with respiratory issues, cancer, and obesity.

Although pediatrics can reassure parents that this is safe, there is still a hesitation. School teacher Tammy MacQueen, she says her 12-year old son just got his vaccine. She believes it was a good decision. "It is hard because we don't really know, this is new, we've never had covid before. I do want to have faith and trust in the scientists and I think the adults have done well with the vaccinations so, yeah I'm okay with it." MacQueen says she's also talked with other parents about the vaccine, and there seems to be an even amount of parents that are for it. There are some that are not.

Kantrowitz says this vaccine can also have a huge impact on school environments for children. MacQueen seconds that and says this vaccine has given some hope to teachers that school will go back to normal. "Right now my kids are not having lunch in the cafeteria. Now they are fifth graders, we have a new cafeteria and they were pretty excited. We started the year in the cafeteria, but it just wasn't safe in my opinion. Because kids were eating with their masks off, and of course they wanted to talk, and they were sitting close together. So I think that's one thing that my students are really looking forward to."

Kantrowitz shares that the vaccine keeps kids in school, which is a cruel part in their development. "It also means that we have more ability to do all the things that really help kids thrive. Everywhere from their academics, to music, to arts, you know and sports. All of those things make a huge impact on children's lives and the more kids are in school getting those things the better." The Vermont Chapter of The American Academy of Pediatrics will be hosting online weekly chats to answer questions about the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. Kantrowitz will be dropping in to be part of November 16th's chat session, you can find the link at AAPVT.org