Kids, COVID-19 and the Vaccine: What Parents Need to Know

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) reports since June 1 that COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations and deaths have all increased among the Utah population. This is the third highest monthly case rate for Utahns since the pandemic began. COVID-19 is also infecting children. 

Some important Utah statistics about children reported by the Utah Department of Health:

  • More than 80,000 children under 18 in Utah have been diagnosed with COVID-19 so far.
  • About 4-10% of children under 18 that get COVID will have prolonged symptoms such as fatigue and poor concentration, sometimes called Long COVID.
  • 729 children in Utah have been hospitalized with COVID-19, with 45 being admitted to an ICU
  • There have been about 100 cases of a complication of COVID-19 called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in Utah. This is where multiple body systems are inflamed, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
  • Two children with COVID-19 and comorbidities have died in Utah.

The Pfizer vaccine is available for children ages 12 and older

The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine available for children ages 12 and up and is widely available through your healthcare provider, local health departments and local pharmacies.  

The COVID vaccines are incredibly effective and very safe. The vaccines come with peace of mind, and the ability to get back to things we like to do such as traveling or visiting grandparents.

To help prevent COVID in children it’s important that adults and children ages 12 and up get vaccinated. This is important as we get closer to schools starting, especially if masks won’t be required at your child’s school.

The immune response from having COVID-19 is variable and wanes over time. People are at risk for re-infection. The immune response from vaccination is very predictable and it works against the variants.

Why should children get vaccinated?

Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of serious illness and complications related to COVID-19, including MIS-C and Long COVID.

Also, almost 30% of the Utah population is made up of children less than 18 years old. That’s why doctors are encouraging kids ages 12-17 to get vaccinated. It will help reduce community transmission. This is especially important, as the prevalence of the highly-transmissible Delta variant is increasing in Utah.

Other advantages for kids who are vaccinated

  1. They won’t need to quarantine if exposed to someone who has COVID (which can happen during school or with sports).
  2. They won’t have to wear a mask. 

It’s important to talk with your child’s doctor if you have questions about getting your child vaccinated. Your doctor knows your child’s medical history and can help you understand and evaluate the risks of getting COVID-19 compared to the benefits and risks of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

During a well-child visit is a great time to ask questions about the vaccine. Don’t forget to schedule that visit before the back-to-school rush. 

Talk with your pediatrician about COVID-19 vaccine locations for children in your area. Pfizer is the only brand approved for children ages 12 and up so make sure to check that is the vaccine being given at the location you are going. 

Parents can check for COVID-19 vaccine appointments on local health department websites – if it says it’s a 12+ site, then they’re offering the Pfizer vaccine.

Or visit intermountainhealthcare.org to schedule a vaccine.