The pediatricians of Meridian Pediatrics fully endorse and encourage the vaccination of all children above the age of 5 with the Pfizer Covid vaccine. We believe in it’s safety and effectiveness. We understand that most children have mild symptoms if infected with COVID but we also see the thousands of children who have missed weeks of school, been hospitalized or suffer from lingering symptoms. We recognize that vaccinating will limit the spread to vulnerable family and community members. We encourage you to schedule vaccination through http://www.coronavirus.in.gov. Please visit our Facebook page for up to date and reliable sources of information.
COVID-19 EXPOSURE AND TESTING PROTOCOL
If you believe your child or you have coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, rigors, body aches, sore throat, headache) and have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, please call our office. We are able to test your child for COVID-19 via our PCR diagnostic test. The state of Indiana is also offering free COVID testing to Indiana residents ages 1 year and older without needing an order from your doctor. Please visit GenePace.com if you would like to schedule your own testing.
To have reliable results, it is best for your child to be symptomatic between 2-5 days before testing. This improves the chances that we would accurately recover the virus and not have a false negative. The validity of the test depends on the patient’s viral load, the quality of the swab, and the quality of the individual test. If your child has NO symptoms, but was exposed to a COVID positive person they should be tested 5 days after exposure.
STATE AND FEDERAL GUIDELINES FOR COVID TESTING AND EXPOSURE
THE VACCINE WAS NOT RUSHED
Speed does not mean rushed. It means leveraging many scientists, money, and decades of previous work to make the vaccine in 9 months. This included:
- Previous research (which started in 2003, thanks to SARS, COVID-19’s cousin).
- Significant amounts of money and resources for scientists around the world.
- Production started before clinical trials were complete because the government financially supported the effort.
- Although vaccines went through Phase I, II and III, phases were overlapped to remove white space. This is standard practice.
- High rates of disease in the community (unfortunately) meant we didn’t have to wait for a minimum number of COVID-19 cases during clinical trial.
- Over 150,000 people flooded to participate in the US trials. This couldn’t have been done without each one of them.
ADOLESCENTS WILL LIKELY EXPERIENCE MILD SIDE EFFECTS
- Mostly mild-to-moderate side effects were reported in clinical trials: fever, fatigue, headaches, chills, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain.
- More pronounced side effects are typical with the second dose compared to the first.
- Swollen lymph nodes were more common in the vaccine group compared to placebo. All cases resolved within one week.
THE VACCINE IS EFFECTIVE
- 100% efficacy in clinical trials (16 cases of COVID in placebo and 0 vaccinated).
- There were no severe cases of COVID-19 during this study.
THERE IS A NEED
- Adolescents have the highest rate of infection and symptomatic infection (compared to adults and children) but hospitalization are lower than adults.
- There have been 127 COVID-19 adolescent deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Although this seems low, death rate among adolescents is low overall. COVID-19 is a top 10 cause of death for adolescents.
- There have been 3,742 MIS-C cases since the beginning of the pandemic; 21% were among adolescents. Severity of MIS-C is worse for adolescents compared to younger children.
- Vaccines significantly reduce community transmission.
mRNA DOES NOT CHANGE DNA
- Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work thorugh a mechanism using messenger RNA (mRNA).
- It is biologically impossible for mRNA to alter DNA. IN order for an mRNA vaccine to change someone’s DNA, several events would have to occur…
- mRNA would have to enter the cell nucleus where DNA Lives. mRNA doesn’t have the “secret door code” (called nuclear access signal) that would allow it to enter. mRNA vaccines can’t get into the cell nucleus and therefore can’t change DNA.
- mRNA can’t be converted to DNA. This would require a tool called “reverse transcriptase” which the vaccine does not have.
- mRNA cannot insert itself in the the DNA. The mRNA would need a tool called “integrase” to do this, which the vaccine does not have.
- The biotechnology has never been approved by the FDA before. It’s NOT because the past mRNA vaccines (for cancer, allergies, and SARS) are dangerous, but because past mRNA vaccines haven’t been effective. mRNA breaks down very quickly, so it needs to be transported by something that can’t be easily destroyed by the body. Finding that ‘something’ was challenging until this past year when scientists discovered that lipids (“fat bubbles”) could carry the mRNA to the cytoplasm of the cell.
FEAR OF LONG TERM EFFECTS (LIKE INFERTILITY) ARE NOT BASED IN SCIENCE
We do not know the long-term effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines; however, based on our knowledge of mRNA and our bodies, we do not expect long-term side effects:
- Vaccine ingredients are cleared from the body very quickly, especially mRNA which is quite fragile. It degrades within 72 hours of injection. The “fat bubbles” leave within days.
- mRNA vaccines are not made up of the actual pathogen. This means that they don’t contain weakened, dead or non-infectious parts of the virus.
- In the history of vaccines, serious adverse side effects have only popped up in the first 2 months of receiving the vaccine. There has not been an increased incidence of any other problems related to the vaccine.
- Women who became pregnant after the vaccine had no complications from the vaccine.
PREVIOUSLY RECOVERED ADOLESCENTS STILL NEED THE VACCINE
Efficacy of natural immunity is high, but adolescents still need the vaccine:
- Getting a vaccine, even for people who have already recovered from COVID-19, strengthens the patient’s immune response.
- The vaccine better protects against varieties of concern.
- The immune system is ‘messier’ from natural infections; it’s not as focused as vaccine immunity
*The above was adapted from Katelyn Jetelina, MPH, PhD University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.