MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – More children are getting vaccinated for COVID-19 as we head into the holiday season, but the Cleveland Clinic wants to make sure we don’t overlook flu season.
They say children should be getting both vaccinations, like Brayden LoPiccolo.
Five-year-old Brayden LoPiccolo is halfway through his COVID-19 vaccination. His mother, Whitney, took him to get his first shot on November 9th.
“We live very busy lives and we do a lot of things on the weekends,” said Whitney LoPiccolo. “It gives me peace of mind to know my older son is protected, especially over the holidays.”
LoPiccolo says the health of her sons is of utmost importance. “I think every parent’s fear is a sick child. That’s something I don’t want, especially if there is a way to prevent it.”
Right now, children over the age of 5 can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Cleveland Clinic Children’s says kids should be vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu. They allow kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine at wellness appointments and they can get it at the same time as the flu shot.
“When we first started giving COVID-19 vaccines we recommended spacing vaccines out, out of an abundance of caution,” said Dr. Gina Robinson, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “Now that we’ve had more time and data, we realize it’s safe to do the COVID vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.”
For parents who want their children vaccinated by Christmas, you have to schedule it now. Just like adults, kids have to wait three weeks between the first and second dose. It also takes two weeks after the second dose to really be considered vaccinated.
Right now, the only COVID-19 vaccine option for children is the shot. And be prepared, your child may react to it.
“I’m seeing the same minor reactions that we see in adults,” said Dr. Robinson. “Soreness at the site is the number one reaction we see. There can be fever and body aches and headaches. Those symptoms usually go away within 24-hours and you can give them ibuprofen for comfort.”
Whitney LoPicollo said Brayden had a sore arm, but the next day he felt fine.
Dr. Robinson wants parents to know that vaccines by and large have been safe.
“When there have been concerns about vaccine safety, we’ve addressed it and it’s something we’re concerned about too,” said Dr. Robinson. “We’re not using kids as guinea pigs and testing out on them something that we’re not sure is safe.”
If you do decide to get your child vaccinated, you can always do what LoPicollo did and talk to them about it ahead of time.
“Going into it he knew what to expect,” said LoPicollo. “He did great. He was excited and he wanted to keep his Band-Aid on because he wanted to show his friends at school.”