Wondering when your child or teen should get the COVID-19 vaccine? Dell Children’s weighs in

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dell Children’s Medical Center has been treating fewer kids with COVID-19 and MIS-C or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. 

As of late last week, Dr. Meena Iyer, Chief Medical Officer at Dell Children’s and the Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs at UT Austin Dell Medical School, said they were treating only two MIS-C patients and two others diagnosed with COVID-19. 

“Those numbers are significantly going down,” Dr. Iyer said. “The prevalence is going down and we are continuing to vaccinate everyone who’s eligible.” 

Dr. Iyer explained that across their network about 400 children as young as 12 have gotten the Pfizer vaccine. 

No difference in side effects

Everyone 12 years and older is now eligible to get the vaccine. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, more than 254,000 Texans 12 to 15 years old have gotten at least the first dose. 

“I haven’t seen any at my Institution of a child having serious reaction to the vaccine,” Dr. Iyer said. “There is no difference in the side effects when it comes to pediatric patients versus adults.”

She’s studied the data and is advising parents to get their children and teens vaccinated instead of waiting. She said if parents are worried about underlying health conditions, then they should talk to their pediatrician. 

Immunity from vaccine greater

Dr. Iyer also explained that even if your child or teen has already gotten the virus, they should get the vaccine and recommended it even after an MIS-C diagnosis. The rare illness hits after a COVID-19 infection and can impact different body parts including the heart. 

“They should after they completely recover and they have been cleared both from their cardiologist and pediatrician, they can go ahead and get the vaccine,” Dr. Iyer explained. “We know for sure the immunity that you get from the vaccine is more and outweighs the immunity that you get from the infection.”

Dell Children’s has treated 58 MIS-C cases since the pandemic began. 

Dr. Iyer said the COVID shot can also be given at the same time as other routine vaccines. She encouraged parents to check with their pediatricians first about doses. 

“The vaccine has gone through the same safety trials as any other vaccine that’s there in the country,” she explained. “I feel very confident that is as safe as the other vaccines available in the country right now.”

Vaccine trials for younger children are underway. Dr. Iyer said realistically children under 12 could be vaccinated by next year. 

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