DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With FDA approval of the the first COVID vaccine, many of the initial doses have been distributed to high-risk populations. While children and adolescents do not fall in that category, medical professionals in Ohio are informing families about what they can expect when a children’s vaccine is approved.
Chief of infectious diseases at Dayton Children’s Hospital, Michael Klatte, said the Pfizer vaccine already in use is approved for children as young as 16 years old and the Moderna vaccine pending approval is meant for those 18 and up. Compared to other hospitals in the Miami Valley, he said Dayton Children’s has seen a significantly lower number of coronavirus cases. Professor of Pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Dr. Robert Frenck, said they’ve had a similar experience.
“The good thing is that so far the rate of children getting infected is much lower than adults, and so we have had a few children in the intensive care unit that have had to be intubated — so it’s been unusual.”
The doctors said a vaccination for children, which could be ready by next school year, is still being developed, but until then, Dr. Frenck said everyone needs to remain vigilant, even adults who’ve already gotten the shot.
“The kids may have mild symptoms and so because they are mild symptoms, parents aren’t really thinking about it being COVID. So they don’t bring them to the doctor, they don’t isolate them or they’re not thinking about COVID and the kids unwittingly spread to adults.”
That’s why Cincinnati Children’s and other pediatric hospitals including Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus are working to minimize the spread by offering staff members vaccinations, in addition to utilizing masks and continuing to practice excellent hand-hygiene. Dr. Frenck said he expects those protocols to last well into 2021, but the key to getting back to normal is for everyone, regardless of location, to get the vaccine when it becomes available to them — children included.
“The real tragedy would be to have multiple effective vaccines and multiple doses of effective vaccines that people don’t take,” he said. “We didn’t cut corners, we’ve just put a tremendous amount of personnel on the projects. If you look at what has saved more lives than anything else, it’s vaccines.”
Frenck said parents worried about getting their children vaccinated should also feel comfortable knowing the vaccine is not capable of making their youngsters sick. More information about the vaccine and COVID practices at pediatric hospitals near you can be found below.