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COVID vaccine for children under 5, doctor answers parents' questions

Answers to parents questions about COVID vaccines for children under 5
Answers to parents questions about COVID vaccines for children under 5 01:41

MIAMI - This week, the first COVID-19 shots are going into the arms of the youngest Americans except in Florida where the state opted not to order vaccines for children ages six months to five years old.

The state's decision means Florida doctors and hospitals have to order their own vaccines and that will lead to a delay in them being administered.

As many parents consider getting their children vaccinated, they have questions.

"COVID vaccination can help with preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths in this young age group," says Dr. Sarah Bosslet, the director of primary care at Riley Children's Health at IU Health.

A common question: Why get younger children vaccinated for COVID-19 if the illness can be mild for them?

"COVID infection is now the leading infectious cause of death in children under five. And it doesn't seem like a big deal until it's your child who's really sick," Dr. Bosslet says.

Another common question: If my child already had COVID-19, do they need to get the vaccine?

"They are at risk of getting it again and the vaccine provides even more protection over time. If your child currently has COVID, wait until their symptoms have gone away and then schedule their COVID vaccine," Dr. Bosslet says.

Some parents worry younger children may be more vulnerable to side effects of the vaccine, but studies show they are typically mild and can include fever, pain at the injection site, fatigue, and irritability.

If the child is experiencing side effects after the vaccine parents can give them some acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but doctors say it's not recommended to give over the counter pain relievers before vaccination to try and prevent side effects.

As for whether the youngest kids could suffer the rare side effect of heart inflammation seen in some adolescents and adults, Dr. Bosslet says, "There were no cases reported throughout all the vaccine studies."  

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