We recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for all of our patients ages 5 and up.
We have the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
available in our office for patients 12 years and older.
Supplies for 5-11 years are unpredictable. We will post information here as availability increases.
Here are some other ways you can
find vaccine locations.
Get all your COVID vaccine questions answered at the
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER
Q: What are the side affects of the vaccine that we should plan for?
A: The most common side effect of the vaccine in 5-11 year olds was pain at the injection site. Other side effects included fatigue, headache, redness and/or swelling at the injection site. Less common reaction were muscle pain, chills, and fever.
While we don't recommend giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the vaccine, you can give it afterwards.
There are no activity restrictions; in fact moving the arm helps the pain to go away sooner.
Q: Do children need two doses of the vaccine, like adults?
A: Yes, two doses are required for the primary series. The second dose is given 3 weeks after the first, just like the dosing schedule for Pfizer vaccine for 12 years and older.
Q: If your kid was in the same situation…what would be your concerns? Would you get your 5yo vaxed right away or would you wait? I need honest experts to tell me what to do because I am scared and lost.
A: This is Dr Matthieu, and I'll answer this one since I am the only physician here with a child in this age range. I absolutely had him vaccinated right away! The safety and efficacy date for the mRNA vaccine is so strong, and while most kids do pretty well with COVID, some don't. I have had a patient with MIS-C. We still don't know what long-term damage this virus can do. I firmly believe the vaccine is the safest choice for children.
We have all vaccinated our older children, and will be vaccinating the younger ones once it is approved.
Q: I'd like more information about the effects of COVID.
Q: Does it make sense to vaccinate our 6 year old with not a lot of cases in this age group?
A: Studies have shown that children 5-11 have similar rates of infection as adults, if not more; but they are less likely to be reported. This age group has the highest rates of MIS-C, and COVID is in the top ten leading causes of death in this age group (CDC). Being sick is one thing, but add on missed school, missed events, 2% of children being hospitalized, and we are still learning about post-COVID effects.
Read more from Dr Gretchen LaSalle.
Q: The vaccine possibly had an effect on my 13 year old's period (decreased the time in between each cycle). I am curious and concerned about the effect on my 9 year old daughter and how it might affect her puberty.
A: There are many things that can affect frequency and severity of periods, such as stress and even minor illnesses. While that can make it difficult to study the effect of one factor out of many, systemic symptoms and immune reaction are plausible reasons to see a change in periods; and there are ongoing studies looking into the vaccine's effects. One survey of over 39,000 subjects reported that 42% bled more heavily after the vaccine, and 44% had no change. Fortunately any effects only last a couple of cycles, and the vaccine absolutely does not affect puberty or fertility. (MUSC, AAP)
Q: If the statistics from the cdc show children only have a 0.008% chance of dying from Covid why would anyone even recommend a vaccine?
A: As of 11/11/21, there have been over 6 million children with COVID-19 infections. Even a very small percentage of those children dying is at least 625 dead children (this number does not include all states). The million vaccine doses administered in the first week alone are estimated to have prevented up to 58,000 cases, 226 hospitalizations, 132 cases of MIS-C, and 72 deaths in this age group. That was just last week. And that does not include other post-COVID effects.
Q: We have read/seen that there are no known, serious, long-term side effects for children from the COVID-19 vaccine and that obviously clinical trials have been done to even get the vaccine approved for this age group. Still, we'd like to wait about a month to see what real-world clinical data emerges from the first wave of children in this age group being vaccinated before we schedule ours.
A: Of course. We will be here for you when you are ready. Fortunately we have a very long history of vaccine use and research. Because vaccines stimulate the immune system and do not linger in the body, but are broken down, any vaccine side effect has happened within 2 months. COVID vaccines are no different. They have been used in other vaccine trials, and have now been given to millions of people world-wide.
Scientists do continue to monitor for unknown side effects. One of the ways you can help is by enrolling yourself and your child in CDC's V-safe, and answering questions regarding side effects after the vaccine.
Q: How long will the vaccine last and will boosters be needed?
A: Many vaccines require multiple doses and/or boosters for maximum efficacy. The need for boosters also depends on the goal. Preventing serious illness may not need a booster, but preventing cases probably would.
The other factor at play will be what happens with variants. As the virus mutates, changes in the vaccine could become necessary, much like annual flu shots.
But right now this is speculation; we don't have these answer yet.
Q. What ages is the COVID-19 vaccine approved for?
Children ages 5 and older.
Trials are ongoing for children ages 6 months to 4 years. Approval for this age group is expected in early 2022.
Q. Do your physicians recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens?
Yes, yes, YES! The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective, and 12-15 year olds get an even better antibody response from the vaccine, with similar side effects (arm pain, fever) compared to adults. Children 5-11 get a lower dose, with the same immune response as people 16 years and older. Vaccinating our children will go a long way towards slowing down the pandemic, protecting vulnerable people who can't get vaccines, and protecting the youths who get the vaccine.
All of the pediatricians at East Portland Pediatrics fully support administration of COVID vaccine to children, and we have been and will continue to vaccinate our own children as soon as they are eligible!
Q. Can we get the vaccine at your office?
Yes! We have the Pfizer vaccine available in our office for patients 5 years and older. Call to make an appointments, or to be put on a waitlist to be contacted.
The vaccine is also available at pharmacies and multiple vaccination sites.
Q. I've heard about giving the vaccine "off-label" to children under 5. Will EPPC do that?
As hard as it is to wait, we are following FDA, ACIP and AAP guidelines and will not be giving the vaccine off label. We are specifically not allowed to do so and it would jeopardize our ability to obtain vaccine. Here is the AAP statement on this issue. We will be sending notices as soon as the vaccine is approved for younger ages.
Q. Don't you think it's suspicious the mRNA vaccines were developed so quickly?
Compared to the development of traditional vaccines, having COVID-19 vaccines ready for administration within 11 months is incredibly fast. There are multiple reasons why this is not worrisome. In fact, this is probably the greatest scientific achievement in public health of our lifetimes. Not only has the technology been in place for decades, but global collaboration, overlapping of phases of development, preparation for manufacturing, and availability of funding shortened the time needed dramatically, without having to cut any corners. And while most efficacy trials, which compare infection rates between those who got the vaccine and those who got the placebo, take years, being in a pandemic meant that exposure to the virus and infections happened very quickly.
Q. Should I be worried about the vaccine side effects?
All vaccines can have side effects. Fortunately, the vast majority of side effects are quite mild, especially compared to the disease they are preventing.
As with other vaccines we give to children, the most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are pain, redness, and swelling at the vaccine site. Other fairly common side effects, especially after the second dose, are tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These are easily managed with rest, hydration, exercising the arm, and medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (given after, not before the vaccine).
Serious allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are, as with other vaccines, quite rare. People receiving COVID-19 vaccines are monitored for 15 minutes to make sure there is no reaction.
The other serious side effect that has been observed is also very rare, and is associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (which is only approved for ages 18 and up), the development of blood clots and low platelets. This has occurred at a rate of about 7 in 1 million vaccinated women between the ages of 19 and 49. It is even more rare in women over 50 and men.
Q. What about the vaccines causing myocarditis?
The CDC is closely watching reports of myocarditis that have occurred within a week after the second dose of mRNA vaccines. This is more likely to be seen in young males, but still quite rare at a rate of 67 cases for every million vaccines given to boys ages 12-17. Most have these cases have resolved with rest and observation, although a few have required medication and hospitalization.
However, the risk of myocarditis is actually much higher with COVID infection. In fact, the risk of myocarditis was found to be 37 times higher in children under 16 who were infected with COVID-19, compared to those not infected. In fact, because the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis in children and adolescents is so much greater than the baseline incidence, we are screening anyone who has a COVID infection before they can return to sports.
Bottom line, the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine are far greater than the risks.
Q. I have heard that the COVID-19 vaccines can cause fertility issues. Is that true?
The myth that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems is just that, a myth. Like much of the disinformation being spread about COVID-19 and vaccines, this myth began with incorrect information and spread like wildfire on social media.
Some women have reported heavy periods after their COVID-19 vaccines. This is a possible, and temporary, side effect of vaccination. But there is nothing in our decades of vaccine research that would suggest a connection between vaccines and infertility. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends the vaccine for people planning pregnancy in their future, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding parents. Our own physicians at EPPC and others have not hesitated to give the vaccine to their adolescent daughters.
Q. I hear that COVID-19 doesn't really affect kids. If that's true, why should I have my child vaccinated?
It is true that most children who become infected with COVID-19 will recover. And many of those infections will be rather mild. However, there are very good reasons to vaccinate youths and children, when the vaccine becomes available to them.
Increasing case rates and hospital admissions
We have seen nationwide and in Oregon a dramatic increase in pediatric COVID-19 infections. By the end of August in Oregon, we have seen the weekly infection rates more than double the previous infection peaks. The pediatric hospitalization rate in Oregon, as well as the national average, is 1%. That means for every 100 children that have a COVID-19 infection, 1 will require hospital admission. If 2000 children are infected in one week, as we have seen in mid to late August), 200 of them will end up in the hospital. That is a lot of children in the hospital for a single disease. It is a huge number of children struggling to breathe and in pain. And it means fewer beds available for kids who are injured in a car crash or are diagnosed with cancer.
COVID-19 induced myocarditis
We know that as many as 3% of COVID-19 infected children with asymptomatic or mild disease will have post-viral myocarditis. The rate is much higher in children with severe disease, especially in children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which causes inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and/or gastrointestinal organs. There have been 40 cases of MIS-C in Oregon, and over 4,600 cases in the US.
Pediatric deaths from COVID-19, while rare, are much higher than deaths from influenza
So far in Oregon 2 children have died of COVID-10. As of September 4, 2021, the CDC reports a total of 514 deaths in children under 18 from COVID-19. This far outpaces the annual pediatric death rate from influenza, which from 2004 to 2020 was 37 - 199 deaths per year (80% of these unvaccinated), with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic year standing out at 358 deaths.
We are still in the beginning stages of learning about the long-term effects of COVID-19. One small study in Italy found that over half of children had symptoms persisting 4 months or longer. A larger study reported recently in the UK showed 1 in 7 children with COVID having symptoms that persisted at least 4 months. It will be years before we can completely understand the very long term effects of COVID-induced inflammation on developing brains and bodies.
While children tend to fare better than adults, the vaccine is extremely effective at preventing these complications, and decades of vaccine research has proven that there are no long-term vaccine side effects. being vaccinated protects the person vaccinated, and also protects those who cannot be vaccinated due to age or immune dysfunction.
Q. What exactly is an mRNA vaccine, and will it affect DNA?
First of all, there is absolutely zero possibility of mRNA vaccines altering DNA in any way. It is impossible.
Here is a two-and-a half minute video explaining mRNA vaccines.
Q. What if my child needs other vaccines at the same time?
On May 12, 2021the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices removed the two week window between the COVID vaccine and other vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines can now be given at the same time or within days of other, routine vaccines. This is great news because it means we no longer have to postpone other important vaccines when getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Stay tuned. We will continue to update this page with vaccination opportunities, and answers to your COVID-19 vaccine questions!