Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine?
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
The COVID-19 vaccine works similarly to other vaccines your child has had. Germs such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, invade and multiply inside the body. The vaccine stops this by helping the immune system make special proteins call antibodies to fight the virus. After vaccination, your child has less of a chance of getting COVID-19. And if they do get infected with the virus, they may not' be as sick as they would without the vaccine.
What are the types of vaccines?
Three different vaccines were given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so far. Two require two doses (Pfizer and Moderna), and one involves a single shot (Johnson & Johnson).
How RNA and viral vector vaccines different?
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines carry instructions to our cells to produce harmless pieces of “spike" protein found on SARS-CoV-2. This triggers an immune system response that the body remembers if the virus ever invades.
Although this mRNA technology has been studied for decades, widespread use of mRNA vaccines is new. They don't use the live coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The mRNA in the vaccine gets into the cells where the shot is given. Then it gives the cells instructions on how to create a piece of protein that is found on the virus that causes COVID-19.
Once the protein is created, your immune system identifies it as a foreign molecule. body. The immune process starts, making antibodies that attach to the protein. These antibodies then protect you from getting COVID-19.
Viral vector vaccines, like the mRNA vaccines, also give instructions to your immune cells. Instead of carrying the instructions to your cells on a fat bubble, as with the mRNA vaccine, they are carried in a harmless virus (not the coronavirus that causes COVID-19).
How do we know COVID-19 vaccines are safe for kids?
Before getting FDA authorization, clinical trials showed COVID-19 vaccines to be remarkably safe and effective for adults and teens age 16 and up. Trials for each of the vaccines involved tens of thousands of volunteers.
Based on clinical trial results for younger adolescents, one of the vaccine makers has now asked the FDA to extend emergency use authorization for children as young as age 12. And clinical trials are starting for children as young as six months old.
How effective are the vaccines?
Research shows that all of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at stopping people from getting COVID-19. The vaccines also help prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death in those who get COVID- 19.
Scientists don't know how long immunity from the vaccine will protect people. This will become clearer in the future.
Do mRNA vaccines change your DNA?
No, the mRNA actually doesn't interact with your DNA at all. DNA is your genetic material and it's stored in the nucleus of a cell. The mRNA in the vaccines doesn't get into the nucleus. And once your immune cells have used the instructions, they break down the mRNA and discard it.
Which vaccine should my child get?
Currently, one of the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer) is approved for teens who are 16 to 17 years old. Anyone who is 18 or older should get whichever vaccine is available to them first. This is especially important now with the rise in cases caused by the variant strains of the virus, which seem to be more contagious and continue to spread at alarming rates here in the US and globally. COVID-19 vaccines are free, whether or not you have health insurance.
What about side effects of the vaccine?
We're still waiting for more detailed information on side effects in kids under the age of 16 years old. Some people don't have any side effects at all. But for those who are 16 or older, the most common side effects that have been reported include:
- Pain, redness, and swelling where the injection was given
- Pain in the muscles
While also rare, some people have had serious allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine. This is why you'll need to wait for 15 to 30 minutes after you have a vaccination. If you happen to be one of the few people who has an allergic reaction, there are medications to quickly treat it.
Questions About COVID-19?
We are here for you to answer any questions you may have as we stay up-to-date with the CDC in regards to COVID-19
Please let us know if in the past 14 days you or anyone in your family has come into contact with someone with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 or traveled to a country or area that the CDC has issued a travel advisory for COVID-19.
Hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Click HERE for more hand-cleaning tips from the CDC
Here are some important facts to keep in mind from the Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of medicine:
- The risk of your child getting COVID-19 requires one of the following to have occurred.
- Close contact with a person who is lab-test-confirmed COVID-19 AND contact occurred while they were ill. Close contact means being within 6 feet (2 meters) of a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case for prolonged period of time (~10 minutes or more). Examples of close contact include kissing, hugging, sharing eating or drinking utensils, carpooling, close conversation or direct contact with infectious secretions of a confirmed case of COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on).
- Close contact with a person is under investigation for COVID-19 and contact occurred when they were ill.
- Living in or travel from a city, country or other geographic area where there is documented person-to-person transmission (community spread) of confirmed COVID-19 carries a small risk. This risk increases in areas of major community spread as listed by the CDC at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
- Activities that do NOT cause COVID-19 infections (low risk):
- Being in the same school, church, workplace or building as one person with COVID-19 (as long as there is not close contact as described above).
- Walking by a person who has COVID-19.
- Close contact with a person who was exposed to COVID-19 more than 14 days ago and never developed any symptoms.
- The virus is not spread by skin contact alone (hands), it must enter via direct contact with mucous membranes (mouth, nose, eyes) or via airborne droplet inhalation.
- How to protect yourself from getting sick:
- Avoid contact with people known to have COVID-19 infection (e.g., talking to, sitting next to, same room)
- Try to avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing.
- Cough and sneeze into your shirt sleeve or arm rather than into your hand or the air.
- Wash hands often with soap and water, especially before you eat.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water is not available.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean. Germs on the hands can get into your body this way.
- Do not share eating (e.g., spoon, fork) or drinking utensils. Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
- No longer shake hands with people. Greet others with a smile and a nod.
- The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask, unless you are sick.
- Get adequate sleep and stay well hydrated.
- Testing for Coronavirus
- Pediatric Partners has PCR COVID-19 available.
- We will only test patients that meet the CDC recommendations for testing which requires illness or history that puts patients at risk.