This week, younger children can get the COVID-19 vaccine and many parents are asking questions about the different doses, side effects and more.
“We’re excited, which maybe is an unpopular opinion but my husband and I are both vaccinated,” said Breanne Pelissier, a mother of two.
“The more we can come together as a community to help protect people who are vulnerable, the better and I think our children are part of that,” said Piper, a mother of one.
We spoke with several parents about their concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine, and one of the big questions was about side effects.
“So we're talking about a little soreness, maybe a little body ache, slight fever in some cases, so those are to be anticipated,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director.
For children ages five to eleven, the vaccine syringe is smaller and so is the dose.
The dosage reflects the maturity of the child’s immune system, according to Dr. Do-Reynoso.
“The dosage is different. It's 1/3 of the regular adult dose. It comes to providers in a specially marked vial with different color so that the provider giving it will just know distinctively that this is different,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said.
“I think we’ve established that the side effects aren’t big enough of a concern that really… the benefits outweigh any possible risks,” said Piper.
Children ages 12 to 18 receive the same dose as an adult.
“You may get it at the pharmacy, you may get it at your doctor's office, or you may get it at a school-based clinic. All these will be staffed by medical professionals who will observe your child and be very on the lookout for any possible side effects or adverse reaction and so parents should feel reassured by that,” explained Dr. Do-Reynoso.
County officials do not expect children to need vaccine boosters at this time, she said.
Officials from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties say the goal is for 80 percent of local children to be vaccinated as soon as possible.