Covid-19 vaccine: a guide for parents



300 million doses on the way, but for whom?

Covid-19 vaccine guide for parents


The early days of the pandemic brought much talk of a vaccine. Medical science has developed vaccines for flu, measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, smallpox, and other diseases. Surely a Covid-19 vaccine was imminent? But conventional wisdom stated it would likely take years to develop one. Fortunately, in a remarkable turn of events, that turns out to be untrue.

Operation Warp Speed, a federal initiative that actually takes its name from Star Trek, will soon be offering not just one, but several vaccines to the world. This blur of scientific activity is unprecedented. But levels of misinformation, disinformation, and distrust are also historic.

Under any circumstances, a new vaccine brings questions, particularly from parents, but especially so in the days of social media, hyper partisanship, and the politicization of a pandemic response. Writing for Parents.com, Melissa Mills gives a rundown of the vaccines coming down the pike as early as late December (but more likely early/mid 2021) and asks some medical professionals for clarification.

READ MORE: Fighting the Covid-19 myths

The leading contenders are from pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer. The Moderna vaccine has been touted as 94.5 per cent effective. Pfizer is at 95 per cent. Both companies are awaiting FDA approval, and expect to be distributing by the end of this year. Priority will go to frontline workers like medical personnel and nursing home employees, the elderly, and people with underlying health issues. Of all the vaccine options, only Pfizer included children in clinical trials.

So are these vaccines safe for kids? At this point, the answer seems to be very likely, which, frankly, is not good enough for most parents I know. According to Mills: “Some vaccine experts believe that children won't be given the Covid-19 vaccine upon initial release and that rigorous clinical trials on kids would need to happen first. In fact, children might not see a coronavirus vaccine until late 2021.”

Also currently unclear is how any of these vaccines will affect pregnant women and their fetuses. Mills writes: “Pregnant women are not being included in current vaccine clinical trials. In fact, Reuters reports that drug makers working on the top contenders are ‘requiring proof of a negative pregnancy test and a commitment to using birth control from women of childbearing age who enroll.’”

The upshot: although this amazing story of science, tech, and innovation is quite promising, important questions remain for families. And yes, a lot of it amounts to yet another call for patience. Mills advises: “Health experts agree that families should follow the race for a vaccine candidate and let the data speak for itself once testing is complete.”



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