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Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine For Your Child? Here’s What To Know

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Sarah Y. Kim/WYPR
The Baltimore Convention Center, one of the state's mass vaccination sites

The CDC is set to make recommendations Wednesday for vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds for COVID-19. The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for that age group Monday.

Vaccinations can begin immediately for 12 to 15 year olds once the CDC gives the green light.

Dr. Kate Connor, a pediatrician at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, recommends that parents get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. She stressed that the vaccine has been tested in rigorous trials with thousands of children, who do not seem to suffer different side effects from adults.

“The first and most important thing is to talk with your kids about vaccination, about why it's important, about its safety and how well it works,” Connor said.

Connor warns that children shouldn’t take painkillers like Tylenol and Ibuprofen before vaccination.

“Theoretically, those medications could blunt the body's immune response to the vaccine,” Connor said.

She suggests parents wait until after their children get vaccinated and start experiencing side effects.

Under state guidelines, patients under the age of 18 need a parent or guardian to accompany them to their vaccination and sign a consent form. For adolescents with vaccine hesitant parents, this can mean an additional hurdle.

Connor advises parents who are vaccine hesitant to reach out to a trusted pediatrician.

“Talk with them about the risks and benefits for their particular child and family,” Connor said. “Those conversations are really critically important to this whole process.

Maryland’s state health department announced in a written statement that they’re preparing to vaccinate 12 to 15 year olds. The department will release more information after the CDC’s decision tomorrow.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.