The arrival of the COVID vaccine brought many of us much-needed relief from the pandemic. Until vaccines are approved for younger children, you can take other steps to protect your child’s health. And it’s not about completely isolating your family. It’s about making safe choices.

How does vaccine work?

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 helps stop this by teaching the immune system to recognize and make antibodies to fight the virus. After vaccination, your child has a less chance of getting COVID. And if they do get infected with the virus, including the more contagious Delta variant, they likely will not be as sick as they would without the vaccine.

Under 12 Year Children

There are other actions we can take to protect our kids. Children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccines—but their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, teachers, and coaches are. The risk of severe COVID-19 for these older groups is higher, and if they become infected, they can transmit the virus to children under 12. There is no reason for those eligible to delay vaccination, particularly with rising numbers of positive COVID-19 tests throughout the country. Vaccines save lives. We implore parents and caretakers to get vaccinated themselves to protect vulnerable children from infection.

How do we know COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children?

Even before getting emergency use clearance from the FDA, clinical trials showed COVID-19 vaccines to be remarkably safe and effective for adults and adolescents 12 years and older. The trials involved tens of thousands of volunteers. The FDA recently gave full approval of the first mRNA vaccine for older adolescents and adults. Clinical trials for both types of US vaccines are underway for children as young as six months old. Vaccines continue to be monitored very closely. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says COVID-19 vaccines will have “the most intensive safety surveillance in US history.”

Tips for protecting your child 

  • Encourage everyone age 12 or older in your family and those you interact with often to get fully vaccinated. This includes getting any additional doses as recommended by the CDC to keep protection levels up.
  • Maximize your family’s protection from the delta variant by making sure everyone age 2 and older wears a mask in public indoor spaces.
  • Outdoor activities, especially those where you can keep your distance from others, are safer than indoor ones. And if you’re going to be in a public indoor space, mask up and keep your distance from others.
  • Anyone outside your household that you or your child spend time with should be taking the same steps to protect their family as you are.
  • Keeping kids home from school when they’re sick keeps others from getting sick.

 
 

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