New year, new Covid variant. I know, we are all getting tired of this, of the changing rules and safety guidelines and of the seemingly endless feeling of this pandemic. And no one is more tired than parents.
On top of school closures, canceled sports and activities, you’re juggling never-ending questions about how to keep your child safe. You see one thing online, then a friend tells you something else. Your pediatrician tells something but the doctor on T.V. is disputing it. It’s exhausting and trust me, as a pediatrician myself, I know. I’m seeing weary parents and kids walk through my doors every day.
One of the biggest questions on parents’ minds right now, especially in the light of the Omicron variant, is: should my child get the vaccine? Now that vaccines have been approved for children age five and up, this is a question all parents must consider.
The answer is not immediately clear to all parents and that’s good. This is a question you should consider thoughtfully. To help guide you in deciding what’s best for your child and family, I recently had a conversation with Dr. Marty Makary. Dr. Makary is a Johns Hopkins researcher and leading medical voice on Covid. You can listen to my full, and candid, conversation with Dr. Makary on my podcast, Parenting Great Kids, where we talked about everything from vaccines to masks to mandates, but for the sake of this article, I’ll address what Makary had to say about your kids, the vaccine, and determining what the best path is for your child’s health and safety.
Should children get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus?
Dr. Makary draws a clear line here. If your child has an existing medical condition such as diabetes, obesity, or respiratory disease, then yes, they should get the vaccine because Covid could have a more negative effect on your child if he already has an illness. If your child is generally healthy, then no, they don’t need the vaccine.
The vaccine doesn’t prevent you from getting Covid entirely, but it does reduce the severity of the disease, reducing your chances of hospitalization and death. Because the child death rate from Covid is nearly nonexistent, children simply don’t need the vaccine as much as an immunocompromised adult would.