Nearly two years after the first outbreak, COVID-19 continues to significantly impact our lives. As new variants like Delta and Omicron arise, the spotlight is once again being placed on vaccination.
While adults all over the world have been receiving COVID-19 vaccines for more than a year, only recently has the FDA approved their use in children and young teens.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children and teens are at a similar risk of getting the disease as adults are. This means that like adults, children and teens can benefit from being vaccinated and protected from the serious health consequences of COVID-19.
Some parents, however, are still hesitant to give their kids the jab.
Dr. Pedram Salimpour, a specialist in pediatric medicine and who has extensive experience in public health, provides clarity on the confusion surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and children.
Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe and Effective for Kids?
The CDC currently recommends everyone 5 years of age and older get a COVID-19 vaccine. However, parents are often worried about giving the COVID-19 vaccine to their kids due to concerns over the shot’s safety and efficacy.
Clinical trials that included over 3,000 children aged 5 to 11 have found that the vaccine is over 90% effective in preventing the disease in this age group.
While he understands the hesitancy some parents have, Dr. Pedram Salimpour says he agrees with the CDC recommendations and believes that the science shows the vaccine is effective and carries little risk. He recommends that children and teens over the age of 5 get vaccinated to protect themselves and help slow the spread of the disease.
Dr. Pedram Salimpour’s brother, Dr. Pejman Salimpour, professor of clinical pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, also echoes the stance taken by the CDC. Dr. Pejman Salimpour points out that “the COVID vaccine for kids was both developed and tested in the same manner as those given to adults.
“Even though children might have some side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, they are similar to those that might occur from other routine vaccinations,” he says.
It’s important to note the COVID-19 vaccine trial in kids found only a few mild side effects and not a single case of a serious side effect.
Vaccination Risks Versus Harm From COVID-19
It’s clear that the risks of getting COVID-19 far outweigh the minimal risk associated with the vaccine. But what about the long-term effects of being vaccinated?
Some parents worry the vaccine may affect their child’s development or future ability to have kids. While it’s true we don’t know all of the long-term effects of the vaccine, Dr. Pedram Salimpour reminds us that there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine may cause problems with puberty in children and does not affect fertility in adults, male or female.
The long-term effects of getting COVID-19 are almost certainly much worse. We know that COVID-19 can cause serious issues such as fatigue, brain fog, breathing issues, and even inflammation of heart tissue (myocarditis and pericarditis). These issues can last for many weeks to months, and possibly longer. We may find that some of these negative health conditions last for years.
Still, some parents question why children should get the vaccine if they have such a low risk of hospitalization or death.
And while it’s true that rates of hospitalizations and deaths are much lower in children than in adults, children can still get dangerously sick from the virus and require a hospital visit.
As of October 2021, more than 8,000 children between 5 and 11 years of age have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 146 have died.
According to Dr. Pejman Salimpour, “[COVID-19] falls into the top 10 causes of death for kids in this age bracket.” Children are also at risk for multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) — a condition in which different organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain become inflamed. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 2,300 cases of MIS-C have occurred in children between the ages of 5 and 11.
Unvaccinated children and teens are also at a higher risk of spreading the disease to others, including their parents, classmates, and teachers.
How to Prepare Your Kids for the Vaccine
It’s important that you speak with your child or teen and educate them on the risks of getting COVID-19, the potentially harmful consequences, and the benefits of being vaccinated. Let them know that the vaccine has been thoroughly tested and has been proven to be safe and effective.
Make sure you listen to their concerns and provide them with helpful information from credible sources, including the CDC.
The Bottom Line
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for children and teens above 5 years of age. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only approved for adults 18 years and older. None of the vaccines are approved for children younger than 5 years of age, as they have not been tested in this age group.
Dr. Pedram Salimpour believes the benefits of being vaccinated are undeniable and that vaccinating children is a key step in slowing the spread of the disease and getting things under control.
Dr. Pedram Salimpour: A Respected Healthcare Leader
Dr. Pedram Salimpour is a pediatric physician, author, professor, and serial entrepreneur. He serves as chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Pierce Health Solutions, a California-based company that helps create novel health delivery systems for Native American tribes and businesses throughout the United States.
Salimpour has founded multiple companies within the health care industry, including CareNex Health Services, a health care technology company that specializes in neonatal disease management, and Boss Surgical Group, an outpatient surgery center organization with multiple locations throughout the U.S. Both companies were later acquired by others. Together with his brother, Pejman, Pedram founded the private equity firm Plymouth Health, which acquired Alvarado Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in San Diego.
Salimpour has received numerous awards for his work in medicine, including his integral role in the research that led to the development of Viagra. He also led the first study to conclusively show a causal link between cycling and erectile dysfunction.
Salimpour serves as a board member of the Boston University School of Medicine and regularly speaks at conferences.
Salimpour’s interviews and editorials have been featured in popular media outlets such as The New York Times, the BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and CCN.
About Pediatrician Dr. Pejman Salimpour
Dr. Pejman Salimpour is a pediatric physician, professor, and entrepreneur who is well recognized for his contributions to the field of medicine and currently serves as the managing partner of the private equity health care firm Plymouth Holdings.Track Latest News Live on CEOWORLD magazine and get news updates from the United States and around the world. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the CEOWORLD magazine.
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