Vermont doctor discusses COVID-19 vaccine for kids

Eligibility for kids under 5 has sparked more concern about the coronavirus vaccines and their safety. Doctor Becca Bell with UVM Children’s Hospital address
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 8:11 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 8:17 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Eligibility for kids under the age of 5 has sparked more concern about the coronavirus vaccines and their safety.

Dr. Becca Bell with the UVM Children’s Hospital addressed some of those concerns.

First, she addressed the potential negative effects of the vaccine. Bell says in the history of vaccines, long-term effects have never shown up out of nowhere years down the line. She says vaccine side effects typically happen immediately or up to two months later.

In the case of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, Bell says no younger child in the clinical trials had this.

“Even in those older adolescents where there is that higher increased risk among males for vaccine-induced myocarditis, it is very, very rare and it is less rare than getting myocarditis from COVID-19 infection in and of itself,” Bell explained.

The doctor says vaccine-induced myocarditis is also typically milder and more resolvable than inflammation as a result of the infection from COVID-19 itself.

Some say they’re concerned that the rare blood clotting seen with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could happen with Moderna or Pfizer. Bell says that’s not happening.

“So, J&J is a different type of vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna are the mRNA vaccines. The J&J and AstraZeneca are a different type of vaccine that uses a different mechanism. And that, and for those vaccines, it is true that there is again, that very rare side effect of serious blood clot. We are not seeing that with the Moderna vaccine,” said Bell. “And these vaccines have been given in the U.S. hundreds of millions of times. We have not seen a blood clot complication. And then, again, going back to COVID, the virus in and of itself can cause blood clots.”

Another common question is why should children get the vaccine when they’re typically less affected?

“I work in the pediatric intensive care unit at UVM Children’s Hospital, and I’ve taken care of children who need it to be admitted to the intensive care unit because of COVID-19... So certainly serious disease happens. And although we luckily have not had a pediatric death due to COVID, there have been children who have died from COVID-19 and children are not supposed to die,” Bell said.

Some have speculated the vaccine will cause an increase in sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Bell says this is absolutely not true and studies show young children and babies who are vaccinated are less likely to die from SIDS.

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