When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we know there are many sources of information. We are grateful you trust Dr. Catherine Phillips to give you the answers you need and the care your family deserves.
You can find the latest information about a vaccine for children under five here.
Our Approach to COVID-19 Vaccine
When you come to Phillips Pediatrics, we want you to feel comfortable throughout the vaccine process. Here are a few things to get you started:
- We currently provide the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for ages 6 mo to 5 years.
- The vaccine can be given at routine check-ups or during a scheduled vaccine visit.
- We are hosting a Wellness Wednesday Vaccine Clinic weekly in July. Please call the front desk at (662) 371-1543 ext 1 for scheduling; leave a message if you call after 4:00 pm or on the weekend.
- On the day of your appointment, please enter clinic through the well lobby, sign in at the front desk, and let us know your child will be getting a COVID vaccine.
- You will receive a consent form and waiver with Emergency Use Authorization Vaccine Fact Sheet that must be completed before the nurse prepares your vaccine.
- After vaccination, you and your child will remain in the clinic for a 15-minute observation period. You are free to exit thereafter as long as your child remains in his or her normal state of health and does not need medical attention.
COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under 5 at Phillips Pediatrics
We know there are many vaccines and immunizations recommended for babies and children under age 5.
Young people are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, just like everyone else. Getting them vaccinated is an additional way to protect them, prevent the spread of COVID-19, and protect others.
Children are not just little adults. Special concern has been taken for vaccine approval to ensure the safety and efficacy in this population. The COVID-19 vaccine for babies and children is a much lower dose than that given to older children and adults.
On June 18, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children.
As an Emergency Use Authorized Vaccine, families can make the decision to vaccinate if they so choose. As our population has more vaccinated individuals and more COVID-19 survivors, we increase the chance of moving from a pandemic to an endemic in which COVID-19 does not cause high rates of morbidity and mortality and does not cause significant disruption in our daily lives.
For children 6 months to 4 years, the vaccine offers 40% protection from the COVID virus at the peak of antibody production. There is a much higher rate of protection from serious illness, including hospitalization, MISC, and death. The vaccine gives our children’s immune systems the long-term memory it needs to protect them over time, even if the virus mutates and causes more serious illness in this age group.
What to Expect
Before your child gets the COVID-19 vaccine, you will fill out a pre-vaccination screening form for your child. This is to make sure they are a good candidate for the vaccine.
If you answer yes to any question, you may need to talk to Dr. Phillips, PNP Brooke Underwood, or another member of our healthcare team to determine if or when would be a better time for your child to receive the vaccine. For example, if your child is feeling moderately sick or severely ill, it is recommended to wait until they feel better before they receive the vaccine.
It does not take long to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The process happens like many of the regular immunizations and vaccines common for children. The vaccine can also be done at a well-visit or other routine check-up.
After the vaccine, there is a 15 minute observation period. You will return in 1 month for the second dose of the series. This will be scheduled at check-out. Your child should be able to return to normal activities immediately after leaving the office. You can give tylenol or motrin should your child develop fever.
Types of Covid-19 Vaccines
Pfizer-BioNTech & Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines are available and authorized for different age groups. We currently offer:
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for children age 6 months to 5 years: 2 dose primary series 1 month apart
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children age 5 to 11 years: 2 dose primary series 21 days apart
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
The COVID-19 vaccine works similarly to other vaccines. Germs such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, invade and multiply inside the body. The vaccine helps stop this by teaching the immune system to recognize and make antibodies that fight the virus.
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines give the body instructions to produce the spike protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 and then induce an immune response.
Is the vaccine safe for children?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children who are 6 months and older get vaccinated to help protect against COVID-19. According to the CDC, the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children, scientists conducted clinical trials. The FDA gave the COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization to use in children as young as 6 months of age and full approval to use in people ages 16 years and older.
The mRNA vaccine is wrapped in a lipid nanoparticle, which helps it get in the cells of your body before it is quickly broken down. mRNA is just a messenger. It does not get into the nucleus of the cell, it does not get into our genes, and it cannot change our genetic make-up or make you infertile.
Who recommends the vaccine for children?
On June 18, 2022 CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children and means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination.
CDC expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible.
Will my child still get COVID-19 if he or she is fully vaccinated?
After your child is fully vaccinated at the peak of antibody production, the vaccine offers 40% protection from the COVID virus. If your child does get infected with the virus, he or she will likely not be as sick. The best protection the vaccine offers your child is decreased risk of hospitalization, MISC, and death from COVID.
The vaccine is approved for emergencies. What is Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority allows FDA to help strengthen the nation’s public health protections when there is a public health crisis. The FDA requires you to have special information so you can make an informed decision about vaccination.
For more information about EUA, please visit the FDA website.
My child has been allergic to a vaccine in the past. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for my child?
According to the CDC, if your child has a history of allergy in past vaccines, you should talk to your provider to see if your child should move forward with the COVID-19 vaccine. In the screening form from the CDC on page four, there are ingredients listed and special considerations if your child might be at risk.
How does an mRNA vaccine help children?
The vaccine currently approved for those under 18 is considered an mRNA vaccine. According to healthychildren.org, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines contain messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA is made up of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of all our cells. The mRNA carries instructions inside a lipid (fat) coating that tells cells to produce harmless pieces of “spike” protein. These look like spikes on the actual COVID virus.
When the cells make these pieces of spike protein, the immune system recognizes that they should not be there. Your child’s body then makes antibodies that get rid of the spike pieces. These antibodies remember how to protect your child from the virus in the future. A second dose and possibly booster doses in the future provide the instructions again, so the immune system can remember and practice how to get rid of the spike pieces.
Do mRNA vaccines change your child’s DNA?
No, the COVID-19 vaccines made with messenger RNA do not interact with your child’s DNA at all. DNA is your genetic material and it is stored in the nucleus of a cell. The mRNA in the vaccines never gets into the nucleus. And once your immune cells have used the instructions, they break down the mRNA and it exits the body.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain live parts of the Virus?
No, mRNA vaccines do not contain any live or dead parts of the virus.
How were the vaccines developed? Were they rushed?
Vaccines were first tested in cells to determine if they are safe for people. The research is shared with the FDA, and then if approved, the researchers start clinical trials. There are several stages of clinical trials, building from hundreds to thousands of people. They undergo rigorous testing processes and close communication with participants throughout clinical trials. There are specific clinical trials for children underway.
More information about research protocols can be found on the CDC website.
Schedule Your Vaccine Appointment
We thank you for trusting us to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to your child. We know you have many options, and we are grateful you trust us with your child’s healthcare.
Have More Questions?
We would love to help answer your questions and help protect you against COVID-19.
Dr. Catherine Phillips is a board-certified pediatrician with extensive experience providing exceptional pediatric care to children throughout the Oxford, MS area. Call (662) 371-1543 to request an appointment at our pediatric office in Oxford today!