PHD: COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children 5-11 open in North Idaho
The Panhandle Health District (PHD) along with several other vaccine providers in the Panhandle are now booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children ages 5-11.
“We understand parents may have questions regarding the vaccine for this younger age group,” said Don Duffy, PHD director. “We’ve addressed several of the most common questions in this article. We encourage parents to contact their child’s pediatrician to discuss any concerns and book an appointment with them or through PHD once you are ready.”
COMMON VACCINE QUESTIONS
Q. Where can children younger than 12 receive the vaccine?
A. The off-site clinics PHD operates at Heyburn Elementary in St. Maries and Forrest Bird Charter in Sandpoint will not offer vaccines for the 5-11 age group as these clinics do not offer the level of privacy we feel is necessary to make this younger age group comfortable.
Vaccine providers who are currently offering pediatric COVID vaccines include:
• Walgreens (Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls locations)
• Lakeside Pediatrics
• Coeur d'Alene Pediatrics
• Heritage Health (Rathdrum location)
• Kaniksu Health
Sandpoint Family Health Center
• White Cross Pharmacy — Sandpoint
• Rite Aid (Coeur d’Alene location)
Q: Is it safe for my child to receive the vaccine?
A: The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.
Q: How effective is the vaccine in this younger age group?
A: Immune responses of children 5 through 11 years of age were comparable to those of individuals 16 through 25 years of age. In addition, the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.
Q. What side effects will my child possibly experience?
A. Commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial included injection site pain (sore arm), redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite. More children reported side effects after the second dose than after the first dose. Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity and occurred within two days after vaccination, and most went away within one to two days.
Q: Is the vaccine being administered for 5-11-year-old children the same as the adult vaccine?
A: The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age is administered as a two-dose primary series, three weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for individuals 12 years of age and older (30 micrograms).
Q: Can kids get other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Yes. It is safe to administer other vaccines at the same time as the COVID vaccine.
Q: Can a child be vaccinated without parental consent?
A: No. Any child under the age of 18 needs parental consent to receive the vaccine at any of the clinics PHD offers.
Q: Can the vaccine effect puberty or fertility in my child?
A: No, the rumors related to COVID-19 vaccines affecting puberty or fertility are unfounded. The mRNA vaccines are processed near the injection site and activated immune system cells travel through the lymph system to nearby lymph nodes. In this manner, they are not affecting hormone levels, nor are they traveling throughout the body to other parts of the body.
Q: Is it necessary to vaccinate kids? I thought they don’t get as sick as adults.
A: In the U.S., there have been more than 5 million COVID-19 cases in individuals younger than 18 years of age. According to the CDC, more than 65,000 COVID-19 cases in children under 18 years of age resulted in hospitalization and there have been 5,526 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in the U.S. As of Nov. 7, 897 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. in individuals less than 18 years of age, with 189 deaths in the 5 through 11 age group.
“Currently our district is at 45% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated,” Duffy said. “We hope to see that percentage grow, but it will take our entire community working together to make a difference.”
Information on where and how to schedule an appointment with PHD is available on their website: www.panhandlehealthdistrict.org/covid-19/vaccine/. The health district encourages the community to utilize Vaccine Finder for additional vaccine locations, the vaccine brands available, and walk-in or scheduling details.