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McKinley Park News – Vaccination Information for Cook County Children

Our friends at the Cook County Department of Public Health shared this comprehensive information about vaccinations for children ages 5-11:

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccine For Children Ages 5-11 With Dr. Monica Mercon, Infectious Disease Doctor

Should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes sir. Studies have shown the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be safe and effective. There are many benefits to having children vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccine will help prevent children from getting COVID-19. While COVID-19 can be milder in children than adults, some children can get very sick and be hospitalized. Children can also have post-COVID complications or long-lasting symptoms. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been shown in clinical studies to be 90% effective at preventing infections in children ages 5-11.

The vaccination also helps children get sick less often, so they can stay in school and do the things they enjoy.

The vaccine also helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important as the cold weather is forcing more people into the house and with the holidays approaching.

Where can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?
All Cook County Health locations will offer the vaccine. To find hours of operation and a website near you, visit myshotcookcounty.com.

The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be offered in many doctor’s offices. We know that families build trust in their pediatrician or family doctor, especially when it comes to vaccinations. Parents are encouraged to contact their provider with any questions.

We also know that many families do not have access to a general practitioner or pediatrician, which is why local health departments are working with schools and pharmacies to offer pop-up vaccination clinics.

The vaccine is free for everyone, both children and adults. You don’t need to show proof of insurance or proof of immigration to get it.

How does the vaccination dose differ from adults?
For children, the dose of the Pfizer vaccine is smaller, a third of the doses for adolescents and adults. The needle used is also smaller.

Children’s immune systems are more sensitive than adults, so their bodies produce a strong immune response even at a lower dose.

Like adults and adolescents, children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated after two vaccinations. The Pfizer vaccine for this younger age group is given in two 10 microgram doses 21 days apart.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination?
Young children will generally experience similar types of side effects from COVID-19 vaccines as teenagers and adults – but likely with less severity, the FDA says. It is noteworthy that, during clinical trials, children were much less likely to have fevers and chills than adults – and with much less severity.

When can children under 5 years of age be vaccinated?
Pfizer is currently conducting clinical trials for its vaccine for children from 6 months of age. The exams for children are divided into three age groups: 5-11, 2-5 and 6 months to 2 years.
Pfizer has said clinical trial results for children under the age of 5 could be in by the end of the year with state review and approval, hopefully a month or two later.

Myth-busting COVID-19 rumors with Dr. Mope Akintorin, Cook County Health Pediatric Chairman

There is a lot of misinformation out there about COVID-19 and the COVID vaccine. To clear any confusion, Dr. Mope Akintorin, chairman of the Cook County Health Department of Pediatrics, shared some of the popular myths.

Myth: Children don’t get sick from COVID-19
Fact: Children are less likely to show symptoms of COVID-19 than adults, but that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t dangerous. Some children can become seriously ill, especially those with underlying conditions such as obesity and asthma. Even children who are asymptomatic can pass the disease on to others.

In addition, some children infected with COVID-19 may not get very sick immediately, but a few weeks later they may get the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome of Children (MIS-C). These children develop a fever, rashes, red eyes, diarrhea, and vomiting, which can get worse within a few days. The inflammation can affect the heart, blood vessels, and other organs, making some children very sick and in dire need of help.

Myth: The COVID-19 Vaccine Isn’t Safe For Children
Fact: Throughout history, vaccines have helped prevent infectious diseases that once killed or seriously harmed many children. Without vaccines, children would be susceptible to serious illnesses such as measles, mumps, rotavirus, and whooping cough, which could lead to disability or even death.

The COVID-19 vaccine has received more scrutiny in recent history than any other vaccine. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, approved for use in people 5 years and older, has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing serious infections in studies.

Myth: Wearing a mask all day is dangerous for children
Fact: No, wearing a mask is safe for children. You can still breathe through and around the mask. Masks can block spit and large droplets produced by an infected person’s airways. Contrary to internet rumors, there is no build-up of carbon dioxide as the gas can get through the mask.

Myth: Getting COVID-19 is better for immunity – like I did with chickenpox
Fact: natural immunity is not enough. Getting COVID-19 and recovering (known as “natural immunity”) doesn’t seem to offer protection as long-lasting or robust as the protection created after vaccination.

Myth: Children cannot spread COVID-19
Fact: Children infected with COVID-19 can spread the disease even if they don’t show any noticeable symptoms or get very sick.

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines can alter a child’s DNA or later affect their fertility
Fact: The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. MRNA vaccines do not alter or interact with your DNA in any way. The mRNA instructs our cells to build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. The material cannot penetrate the cell nucleus where our DNA is located. The COVID-19 vaccine works with the body’s natural defenses to develop safe immunity to disease. Again, the vaccines won’t affect your DNA.

There is also no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination affects fertility. On the contrary, vaccinated people get pregnant and others have healthy babies.

Thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine as a parent and a doctor

“The pandemic has hit our children so incredibly hard, mentally and socially. I knew immediately that I wanted to get my children vaccinated against COVID-19 because it gives them the best chance of a normal childhood.”
– Dr. General Practitioner Whitney Lyn watches her son get vaccinated on November 5th at Cook County Health.

Pfizer Vaccine Approval Schedule for 5-11 Year Olds

October 7, 2021 – Clinical study completed
Pfizer has compiled safety and efficacy data from its clinical study and has asked the FDA to extend emergency approval of the vaccine to this younger age group.

October 26, 2021 – FDA Advisory Panel Vote
The panel decided that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks, based on data from the clinical trial and presentations from federal scientists.

October 29, 2021 – FDA Approved
The agency voted to extend emergency use authorization to this age group.

November 2, 2021 – Vote of the CDC Advisory Board
The panel voted to recommend the newly FDA approved vaccine for all children in the 5-11 age group.

November 2, 2021 – CDC recommendation
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky supports the decision of the advisory body.

November 8, 2021 – Available to the public
Pediatric syringes go to pediatrician practices, health authorities and pharmacies.

Cook County Health Center at Belmont Cragin Open

Cook County Health’s new health center in Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood is now open.

The 25,000 square foot building is located at 5501 W. Fullerton Avenue and replaces the Logan Square Health Center.

The new health center will provide basic pediatric and adult care, women’s health, dental care, and specialty services such as cardiology and endocrinology. The Nutritional Aid Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will also be on site. COVID-19 vaccines are also available here.

Additional information on vaccines for children

American Academy of Pediatrics opinion

FDA Virtual Press Conference: COVID-19 Vaccines For Children Ages 5-11

CDC resources on the COVID-19 vaccine for children

Understand the test data

Information from the health department

Illinois Department of Public Health

Cook County Department of Public Health

Chicago Department of Public Health

Cook County Health on the news

WGN: Young children are vaccinated at Cook County Health soon after vaccinations for children are approved

NBC 5 Chicago: COVID Vaccine Side Effects For Children Under 12: What Parents Need To Know

Daily Herald: Are your kids worried about COVID-19 vaccination? What local doctors say and advise you to do

WTTW: The hesitation of the COVID vaccine in black communities continues

Chicago Tribune: Cook County prepares to introduce COVID vaccine to children ages 5-11 pending state approval

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