Does the vaccine impact puberty in kids? Will it eliminate the need for masks in schools?

Madison doctors answer FAQs about the COVID vaccine & kids ahead of public hearing

MADISON, Wis.– Parents should have a lot of questions about the COVID vaccine and how safe it is for their kids. Ahead of the FDA’s Oct. 26 public hearing, we brought a few questions to local SSM Health Dr. David Ottenbaker.

Q: What’s the main concern right now regarding COVID and kids?

A: Children currently account for 30% of new coronavirus infections, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“They’re getting sicker, they’re missing school, and they’re ending up in the hospital in a higher frequency,” said Ottenbaker.

While 37% of parents say they will take their children to get vaccinated once the FDA authorizes the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use, 35% say they won’t, according to an October 2021 CBS News poll. 25% are still unsure.

“The delta variant is becoming more impactful to our children and that’s why we really do recommend they get vaccinated as soon as they’re able,” Ottenbaker said.

Q: How do I know the vaccine is safe for kids since it was created so quickly?

A: Ottenbaker says vaccine safety has not been compromised by the speed at which it was created. Clinical trials have been going on for nearly one year, and the FDA is testing the vaccination even more thoroughly among younger children.

Pfizer’s shot received emergency authorization for children 12-17 in the spring.

Clinical trials found the shot is nearly 100% effective in kids, with no impact on puberty or later-in-life fertility.

Q: Will children experience any post-vaccination side-effects?

A: Like adults, many kids experienced two or three days of cold-like symptoms in clinical trials. Children cannot get COVID from the vaccine.

Q: Once kids are vaccinated, can they safely remove their masks in school?

A: Doctors and public health officials are using a wait-and-see approach to this.

“I think that’s the million dollar question, right?” said Ottenbaker. “We know masks work.”

Dane County children will also need to continue following the county-wide public health order as long as it remains in effect.

Vaccines are free, effective, easy-to-find, and currently available for anyone 12 & up. Click here to find your nearest clinic and schedule an appointment today.