5 things parents should know about the COVID-19 vaccine and kids

HOUSTON – We are your vaccine central for the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates. From babies in the womb to teens, we are focusing on our kids and the COVID-19 vaccine. As more adults get the vaccine, when will it be ready for kids?

While kids typically are not getting serious cases of COVID-19, it is still important to think about vaccines for them because they can still transmit the virus.

COVID vaccine trials for teens

Houston is one of 20 cities where Moderna vaccine trials for teens are underway.

Danielle Collins’ 12-year-old son Michael is ready.

“He’s the child of a healthcare provider and he hears the stories, and he understands the burden and I think he’s anxious to get past this as well,” said Collins.

She says she felt a weight lifted when she got the vaccine and hopes her son Michael will soon feel the same.

“It was such a relief of a burden that I knew was heavy but I didn’t know how heavy until I received that vaccine and started to feel a little more confident that I’m going to make it through this alright,” she said.

While vaccine testing is underway for teens - other parents are wondering about smaller kids.

COVID vaccine for pregnant women

Brittany Parker Kerrigan is 29 weeks pregnant with two small boys at home. She just got her second COVID-19 vaccine.

“Every single person who gets vaccinated helps someone else they may possibly pass it on too,” said Parker Kerrigan.

The hope: to protect not just her family but her growing baby too.

“If I were to get the COVID vaccine I could possibly pass antibodies on to my unborn child - to when they are born they may have that protection,” explains Parker Kerrigan.

She explains that she knows this is a very personal decision for parents to make on their own. This is the choice she thinks is best for her family.

“You are able to immunize the mom and by the mom, you are able to provide at least a temporary measure for that developing baby,” said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist with Texas Children’s Hospital.

Aagaard, Professor & Vice-Chair of Research, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, says one big concern for parents is about vaccines during pregnancy.

“There is no biological reason whatsoever why a pregnant woman or her developing fetus would be anticipated to suffer any long-term outcome,” said Aagaard.

1. How long will kids have to wait for the vaccine?

While newborns would be covered if mom is vaccinated, older kids will need to wait.

“They are hoping sometime during the summer one or both might be ready for 12 years and up. That’s our hope,” said Dr. Stanley Spinner, the Chief Medical Officer for Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care.

2. If my child already had COVID do they still need to get a vaccine?

Aagaard says yes they should still get a vaccine.

“The vaccine will provide additional protection against new and immune variants that we are hearing so much about,” she said.

3. If adults in the house are vaccinated, this could help the kids too.

“The more people we can vaccinate quickly, the less likely the viruses will have the opportunity to continue to mutate,” said Spinner.

4. How could the COVID-19 vaccine impact other vaccines kids may be scheduled to get?

“Currently the recommendations are to not have another vaccine two weeks prior to or two weeks after COVID vaccine is given,” said Spinner. “If they are due for another vaccine at 16 for instance we will delay two weeks. We don’t want to delay those other very important sometimes life protecting vaccines.”

Texas Children’s Pediatrics is always answering questions they are getting from parents.

Check here for the latest questions and answers.

5. Can COVID-19 make my child sick with the coronavirus?

No. The vaccine only contains genetic instructions to make a protein of the virus. It does not contain a whole virus that can replicate inside of your body. So, the vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

The good news - doctors say the vaccine trial in kids is already showing promise.

“We are watching them under a microscope very carefully and they are doing very well,” said Spinner. “These are incredibly safe vaccines.”

The vaccine trial for teens is still looking for volunteers. Teens could receive up to $1,000 for participating.

Check Houston Fights COVID for more information.

What do you want to know about the COVID vaccine and your kids?

Do you have any additional questions about kids and vaccines? We are hosting a live Facebook Q&A Friday, February 12th.

Submit your questions here and we will work to get answers for you.


About the Authors:

Emmy Award-winning anchor/reporter, husband, dad, German Shepherd owner, Crossfitter, Game of Thrones junkie, chupacabra hunter.