Kids & the COVID Vaccines: W. Kamau Bell Talks to Pediatricians

Health care workers answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

W. Kamau Bell in conversation with health care providers addressing some of the most common information needs about kids the COVID-19 vaccines.

Hello parents, grandparents, caregivers, anybody who cares for and about children. I am W. Kamau Bell and I’m here to talk about the COVID vaccine and kids.

Now I got the vaccine, and it feels splendid, but the question that keeps me up at night is, what about my kids?

I’m here to ask the people who know the most about vaccines and kids, pediatricians!

How old does a kid have to be to get the vaccine?

So, right now, the vaccines are approved for kids, teens and adults, age 12 and above.

There are a number of trials going on now for children under 12. It is anticipated that there might be data in the early fall to submit to the FDA for consideration.

How safe are the vaccines for kids? And bonus question, how do you know it’s safe?

So, when people ask me about the safety about vaccines, I try to, first of all, just explain the science.

And, the reality is, MRNA technology has been around for decades, almost 20 years. So, it is new to coronavirus, but is not a new technology.

It’s important for parents to know that kids go through the same rigorous, scientific process to have medications approved for them, that adults do.

I have been following the production and the clinical trials of these vaccines since they started last year, and I can tell you that the companies and the FDA and CDC have been entirely transparent with the data that they have used.

It’s really exciting that we did those trials because we can confidently say that the vaccines are safe for children.

Okay, great. But do the vaccines work as well for kids as adults? That’s called efficacy. I’ve been Googling.

Yes. The COVID vaccines are incredibly effective for kids, just like they’re incredibly effective for adults.

In fact, there is some data to show it probably even works better in kids than it does in adults.

These are stunningly effective vaccines in preventing serious disease, symptomatic disease, hospitalizations, and deaths.

What are the side effects for kids?

So, the common side effects we see in kids are very similar to the side effects that we saw in adults, that they may feel more fatigued, that they may have aches and pains in their muscles, or particularly at their injection site, which usually is in your arm.

But, for children, it seems like, they’re, children are having less, less side effects and the side effects they do have don’t seem to be very severe. It kind of makes sense, right? Most kids will play and do whatever they’re going to do no matter what and most adults will stop doing anything if they have a moment of discomfort.

A lot of parents are wondering, is COVID even a big concern for kids? I mean, do they need the vaccine?

It’s really important for parents to understand that COVID absolutely affects kids, that kids can get very sick from COVID. Kids can be hospitalized because they had COVID, and kids have died from COVID. And so, we want to dispel the myth that kids are not affected.

There is no doubt in my mind that we absolutely need vaccines for children. We know that vaccines are the most effective public health intervention to keep all populations safe and healthy.

So, what do I do to protect my kid before they get the vaccine?

One of the most effective ways for parents to protect their kids from being exposed to COVID is to get vaccinated. So, having caregivers be vaccinated helps decrease the spread of COVID within your household.

We know that the closer you are to somebody who has the infection, the more likely you are to get it. Once somebody, anybody, in the house has coronavirus, it is very, very likely that everyone in the home will get it.

Even as there are younger kids who are not yet eligible to receive a COVID vaccine, that they can still take the same precautions, that they can mask and be in highly ventilated areas. So, they’re not exposed to COVID either.

Do kids have to go to a pediatrician to get the vaccine?

So the answer is, no, you don’t have to go to your pediatrician, but you’re certainly welcome to, and it’s really helpful to have a conversation to ask them your questions to go over any concerns you have.

That’s something that we do as pediatricians, we answer a lot of questions for families,

If your child is of an eligible age, which right now is age 12 and above, they can go to any of the COVID vaccination sites. And if you’re looking for a site near you, you can go to vaccines.gov to find a COVID site in your community.

I didn’t have to pay anything to get the vaccine. Will it cost anything to vaccinate my kids?

Tell somebody, tell your neighbor, tell everyone, shout it from the rooftops: these vaccines are a hundred percent free.

For children 12 and above and for adults as well, anybody can get vaccinated for free. Regardless of immigration status, regardless of whether you have insurance or not.

Speaking for anxious, parents and caregivers everywhere. I appreciate you. A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Thank you, doctors. We’re all grateful.

Also. I was like a thing. Can you look, can you check this? It’s just a little discoloration.