Approval of COVID vaccine from Pfizer for kids ages 5 through 11 has now occurred, joining vaccines already available for patients 12 years and up. Hidalgo Medical Services is excited to have another tool against SARS-CoV-2 and is confident in the vaccine's effectiveness and safety for our patients. Hopefully, we will be deploying these vaccines to our high-risk pediatric patients later this week and rapidly ramping up for patients in the above age group next week during scheduled patient visits and on a walk-in basis. Please be patient with us as we do this.
As with the introduction of any new vaccine in pediatric patients, there will be questions and anxiety for some caregivers and families. Why do we need to vaccinate young children against COVID-19? It's a fair question. While many parents are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to see their child vaccinated, others are hesitant and worried. There are questions about side effects, as with any drug, especially considering the generally lower risk of severe COVID disease in children compared to adults.
But just because COVID-19 is sickening and killing fewer kids than adults does not mean that children are or have been free from risk. In the United States, at least six million children have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, more than 24,000 have been hospitalized, and over 600 have died. In New Mexico, more than 300 kids have been hospitalized, and five have now died. As a comparison, similar numbers involving a pediatric flu season would represent the most severe influenza season seen in modern history and would be even worse without masking and other common-sense measures currently in place. Less is known about long-term COVID in pediatric patients, but approximately 1 out of 25 patients have long-term consequences or post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) resulting from infection. COVID also has disproportionally affected kids from rural areas and minorities, all of whom have higher rates of both hospitalizations and death.
The COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer for 5-11 years old kids weighs less the 1/6 the size of a grain of salt. It is made from protein, fats, salts, sugars, and water. The vaccine enters our body's immune cells and triggers an immune response against COVID-19. Shortly after entering these cells and activating the above, it is broken down. The mRNA technique used in Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has been studied for decades. Common side effects of the vaccine include soreness at the site of injection, fever, and fatigue, and can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen. As with any other childhood vaccine available in the United States, serious reactions are exceedingly rare.
Vaccinating kids is a vital component in ending this pandemic and adds a highly effective layer of protection for kids. It should bring peace of mind to many families of elementary-school-age students that their children are safer in classrooms and activities outside of school. Their being vaccinated helps them contribute to protecting those around them and expediting a return to routines and activities for all of us.
Parents and other family members can also protect their children by getting vaccinated themselves. If you haven't gotten a vaccine yet, please do so as soon as you can. If you have questions, please check out resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center, Hidalgo Medical Services and other trusted and reliable sources of information dedicated to the lives of children and their families.
Click Here: Covid 19 Vaccine Program