November 1, 2021
Seattle, Wash. — To keep children safe from COVID-19 and to reduce community spread, it is essential that children are vaccinated, and Washington’s health care community stands ready to help in this effort. The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), Washington Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP) and Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WCAAP) support the Washington State Department of Health’s plan to distribute and administer a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old, following the Emergency Use Authorization granted by the FDA in October and recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, expected later this week.
“This is a moment that many of us, as physicians and as parents, have been waiting for,” says WSMA President Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD. “Nearly 100 percent of Washington’s physicians have received the COVID-19 vaccine because we know that it’s safe and effective. My colleagues who are parents of school-aged children will not hesitate to vaccinate their kids. We urge you to do the same. You may have questions, and that’s okay. We encourage parents to talk to their trusted physicians — pediatricians, family doctors, specialty physicians — and ask about the vaccine. We want all of our patients protected from the COVID-19 virus, to move us closer to a day when our children and communities will be free from the threat of serious COVID-19 disease.”
- 6.3 million children have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic’s onset.
- 22,400 children have been hospitalized and at least 605 children aged 18 and younger have died.
- 16-18 times higher risk for myocarditis compared with patients without the virus. Myocarditis associated with the vaccine is less frequent and of less severity that myocarditis associated with cases of COVID-19.
- 2% of children experience Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 and symptoms that persist beyond 56 days.
- mental health-related visits to the emergency room for children aged 5–11 and 12–17 years increased approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.
“Vaccinations against COVID-19 are the best strategy to protect our kids now and well into the future,” says WAFP president Angela Sparks, MD, FAAFP. “The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is incredibly effective at preventing infections, which will make our kids, as well as other vulnerable populations, safer. Side effects are almost always mild, and the risk of adverse reactions far outweighs the risk posed by COVID-19.”
“Health care providers understand that parents may have questions, and it is natural to be concerned about a new vaccine, but the data supports this vaccine is safe and is the best way to keep your child healthy,” says WCAAP President Michael Barsotti, MD, FAAP. “Vaccination for COVID-19 will also help keep our children in school, an important part of their social and academic health. The best source of information about your child’s health and well-being is your child’s primary care medical provider; we, together with you, place your child’s safety and well-being above all else.”