Nuts & bolts of California’s vax rollout for kids 5-11 – Everything you need to know

Vaccine All 58 and Stop the Spread Covid 19 public awareness campaign hosted a briefing about the California vaccine rollout for the kids 5 – 11. Regina Wilson (California Black Media) moderated the event. Dr. Mark Ghaly (secretary of the California Health and Human Service Agency) answered questions about the vaccine rollout, potential side-effects, and efficacy and safety of vaccinating children 5 – 11 against Covid-19.

Children between ages 5 to 11 make 9% of California’s population. After concluding what Dr. Ghaly called “a robust trial” including 4000 children, the Covid-19 vaccine was deemed safe for children ages 5 – 11. An adult receives a 0.3 dose of Pfizer vaccine, while a pediatric dose is 0.1.

Dr. Ghaly shared the data about infections among younger children. There were hundreds of thousands of cases of Covid infection among children, and 60.000 children got hospitalized because of it. Likewise, California lost more children to Covid than to any other vaccine-preventable disease in the nation. Thirty young people died of Covid, and any more deaths are unacceptable if they are preventable. Long-term effects from Covid-19 infections in young people are real, and health care providers are learning more and more each day.

Should kids get the flu and Covid vaccine at the same time?

Dr. Ghaly recommends consulting with your pediatrician or your primary health care provider. If it is safe for your children, there is no reason not to receive both vaccines simultaneously.

What are some of the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine?

The side effects include some soreness in the arm or low-grade symptoms like fever.

How can parents be reassured Covid-19 vaccine is safe for children of all backgrounds?

A large national study was conducted on children ages 5 – 11, and the researchers made sure it was a representative sample. It included children of different ages, gender, races, and ethnicities, as well as children with and without preexisting conditions.

How would you convince parents whose religious beliefs are opposed to the vaccine?

Dr. Ghaly likes to ask what it is about this vaccine that contradicts your religious beliefs. He also encourages these conversations to take place in religious communities.

Another point Dr. Ghaly emphasized is the conversation about the vaccine focuses on the Covid vaccine side effects vs. nothing happening (meaning a person not getting infected). Instead, it should switch to the vaccine protecting people of all ages against Covid infection vs. risks of not being vaccinated. Even if you do not get hospitalized, there are long-term repercussions from the infection. To put it bluntly – if you are unvaccinated, you will get Covid eventually since it is a highly transmissible virus.

Will children require a booster eventually?

Due to the nature of the pandemic and how it constantly evolves, Dr. Ghaly said they didn’t know. At the moment, the medical community feels confident about the levels of protection among 5 – 11-year-olds. Dr. Ghaly confirmed plans to open vaccination sites at school and said those sites would also make vaccinations available for the students’ families.

How do people get children involved in the clinical trial?

The health care system and primary care providers across the states enroll children into clinical trials. As with other Covid 19 vaccine studies, more people were interested in participating in the clinical trial than spots available.

How much are children ages 5 – 11 contributing to the spread of Covid-19?

Increasingly so. Since older Californians got vaccinated, the group more susceptible to the virus were young people. In some cases, under-18s represent up to 25% of cases, and those numbers are higher across the nation. As Dr. Ghaly said: “The idea young people don’t get infected or affected by Covid 19 is not true. ”

What about myocarditis, and are we part of an experiment since we don’t know the long-term effects of the vaccine?

The medical community should take great care and pay attention to the data about the side effects of not only this vaccine, but any medication or therapeutic. The vast majority of young people have no side effects from the vaccine. Few in millions can experience significant side effects. However, they either self-resolve or resolve with minimal intervention. There were no cases of myocarditis or pericarditis in the trial conducted on 5 – 11 children.

Some cases occurred in older teenagers, and the medical community is taking that very seriously. One theory is that myocarditis presented in older teenagers since they received a higher dose of the vaccine (unlike the children 5 – 11).

However, Dr. Ghaly pointed out unvaccinated young people who get Covid 19 infection can develop significant symptoms and outcomes. Long-term complications of the inflammatory response can impact cardiovascular, endocrine, and neurological systems. They can also include respiratory problems.

Since many communities don’t have access to pediatricians and health care providers, how does the state plan to disseminate the information to reach those people?

The state is working with ethnic media and trusted community partners to share this information with the various communities.

Are there myths about the vaccine we need to debunk?

One of the most asked questions is about fertility issues. To date, there is no connection between the vaccine and fertility issues in adults or young people.
Myocarditis and pericarditis seldom occur as a side-effect of the vaccine and often resolve themselves. The risks of developing cardiac complications are more significant if you get infected without being vaccinated.
The state lost 72.000 Californians to Covid-19. The vaccine is our miracle and solution and one of the safest, effective, and successful vaccines in modern medicine.

In describing what would be considered a success, Dr. Ghaly stated getting as many children between ages 5 to 11 vaccinated as possible. When the majority of the state’s population gets vaccinated, we ensure we don’t overwhelm the hospital care system. That way, people who need help can receive the care they need.


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