Would a potential coronavirus vaccine be safe for children?

Pediatricians concerned about parents who have questions regarding vaccinating children want to reassure them that if and when a coronavirus vaccine is available, it will be safe.

“Some studies and early polls have suggested that upwards of one-fourth to one-third of the population would not readily accept a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available,” said Dr. Sarah Schaffer DeRoo, a pediatrician at Children’s National Medical Center in D.C.

Schaffer DeRoo co-authored “Planning for a COVID-19 Vaccination Program,” a paper published in the journal JAMA Network.

What she calls “vaccine hesitancy” ranges from adamant anti-vaxxers to families who question vaccines because they feel that’s the role of parents.

“I would say that the majority of families have at least one very benign question about vaccines that we answer all the time,” Schaffer DeRoo said.

They include:

  • What are the side effects?
  • What is being injected into my child?
  • Are there concerns I should have?

Schaffer DeRoo and her colleague, Dr. Linda Fu, who co-authored the published paper, suggest there be a robust public health response to prepare for the coronavirus vaccine, if and when it becomes available.

Some points they believe should be emphasized:

  • All vaccines have to be approved by the FDA.
  • Approved vaccines have gone through a rigorous testing process.
  • Children’s vaccines will be approved independently of adult versions.

“So, families should feel confident that if it’s being offered by their pediatrician — that it is safe,” Schaffer DeRoo said.

“A COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon. We don’t know exactly when it will be released and approved by the FDA, but when it’s available we want to be sure there is public trust in the vaccine.”

Schaffer DeRoo also stressed the importance of parents keeping up with their children’s regular schedule of vaccinations and wellness checks.


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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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