Your Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines: Answered!

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This content was paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines

You asked, we answered! OKC Mom surveyed our readers about lingering questions they had regarding COVID-19 vaccines for children, and we had the unique opportunity to sit down with a local pediatrician to have your questions answered.

We are grateful for the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Erin Corbin of Mercy Health network to talk through the most frequently-asked reader questions. Dr. Corbin is a graduate of OU Medical School and board-certified pediatrician at Mercy Clinic in Oklahoma City, OK. She is also a local mama of four and personal pediatrician for a few OKC Mom team members!

We know the information provided by Dr. Corbin will be helpful to OKC Metro-area families as they make their decisions.

Q: What are the severe side-effects known for COVID-19 vaccinations in kids and what is the likelihood of that happening to my kiddo?

Dr. Corbin: Well there really aren’t any which is great news. The risk of the serious illness with COVID infection is much, much greater than COVID vaccination. The most significant side-effect that we saw was in the 12-17 year old age group and they saw some cases of myocarditis. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart that can be caused by any virus. So flu can cause it, common cold can cause it, COVID can cause it. When we looked at COVID vaccination rates, out of 2 million doses in that age range, 175 kids got myocarditis, so when you do the math for that, it’s .00008%, so really, really low risk. And still less severe than the cases of myocarditis we saw with COVID. So COVID is much more likely to cause serious illness than the vaccine itself. And no serious effects in the 5-11 range, so zero myocarditis, no serious side-effects so those kids did really, really well with it.

 

Q: So the second question that we got quite a bit is why would a child need a vaccine for COVID when the survival rate is so high?

Dr. Corbin: So when we look at COVID, survival rate is not the only thing that’s important to measure. So we also need to look at rates of hospitalization and morbidity and long term effects. Children can still get COVID. They can also pass it on to other people. They can and do get hospitalized with COVID. And we’ve seen pediatric deaths with COVID. So even though the rate is much, much less, it still happens and low risk doesn’t equal zero risk and it’s still important to get your kid vaccinated to give them some protection. 

 

Q: So this is a follow up to that. We’ve seen a lot in the news about long COVID. What is estimated rate of long COVID In kids?

Dr. Corbin: We don’t really have an estimated rate yet because we’re still looking at numbers from Delta and Omicron. Long COVID is essentially people who still feel like they have symptoms past the two to three month mark. So we definitely see a lot of that in adults. There were some children with Omicron that still felt like they had some symptoms of COVID two to three months after their illness, but I don’t have that percentage rate, yet. 

 

Q: Next question, what is the estimated percent efficacy of the vaccine? And where is the research coming from? 

Dr. Corbin: So initially, the CDC had compiled information from all the different states and initially the efficacy rate was around 94.7%, which is an excellent vaccine rate for COVID. Since then, we’ve had these these variants that obviously have decreased efficacy if you look at it in terms of getting the illness. So we know that lots of kids got Omicron and Delta, and the vaccine did appear to be less effective in preventing getting the illness, but still really, really effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. So if you look at it from that standpoint, which is what vaccines do, it’s doing a great job. 

 

Q: Last question. Isn’t current data showing that the newer strains coming out of COVID are less virulent, especially kids? 

Dr. Corbin: It is. Thankfully, we have seen this really since the beginning of COVID. As a pediatrician, I’ve gotten to tell a lot of parents I know this is scary for a lot of reasons, but thankfully children have done well. But like we said earlier, low risk doesn’t equal no risk. So despite seeing a lot less severe illness with some of these newer strains, kids are still getting sick. And so I think when you look at the bigger picture, the risk ratio, the risk with COVID is still there.

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