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COVID Vaccine Pediatric Information

by Pediatrician Mindy L. Calandro, MD, FAAP

Is the Covid-19 mRNA vaccine approved for children?

At this time the Pfizer mRNA vaccine is the only Covid-19 vaccine approved in those 16 years of age and older.  While the trials with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA Covid vaccines in those 12-15 years of age have been ongoing, the FDA has not yet authorized the use of these vaccines in this age group.  It is likely that in the next few months we will see the FDA expand the emergency use authorization on the mRNA vaccines to include those 12 and older, but until that authorization occurs, these vaccines cannot be given in that age group.  There are now also mRNA Covid vaccine trials starting for the 6 months-11 year age groups as well.  These studies will still take some time to be completed, so I would not expect vaccine approval in those ages until much later this year, or even early 2022.

Can parents or those who care for children receive the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and still be around children?

Absolutely!!! The mRNA vaccines contain no live virus, and therefore do not pose a risk to anyone that is around the person who received the vaccine.

How about pregnant woman? Can they receive the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines?

In their final advisory and recommendations for the Pfizer vaccine, the CDC did say that after a discussion with their OB/GYN, pregnant woman can receive the vaccine.  Pregnant women were not intentionally included in the vaccine trials (pregnancy is one of the exclusion criteria when it comes to all vaccine trials).  However, there were women in the mRNA vaccine trials who did become pregnant during the vaccine trials, and no adverse effects were noted with the pregnancy.  We know that pregnant woman are considered “high risk” when it comes to Covid-19 infections, so the risks of actual Covid-19 infection must be taken into account.  Again, for those that are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, they should discuss vaccination with their OB/GYN prior to receiving the vaccine.

What about breastfeeding women?

Again, the CDC did recommend that breastfeeding women CAN receive the Covid-19 mRNA vaccine.  Given that there is no live virus present in the vaccine, the chance of the vaccine affecting breast milk and therefore affecting the infant is very low.  Breast feeding women, like pregnant women, are excluded from vaccine trials, so specific data will be forthcoming as more widespread vaccination occurs.  Once again, this should be discussed with your OB/GYN as well.

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