Dr. Hank Bernstein talks about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death in children.
Does my child really need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Hank Bernstein, MD: I'm Dr. Hank Bernstein, and I'm speaking to you on behalf of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The question, does my child really need to be vaccinated to prevent COVID-19? The answer — absolutely.
More than 1,500 children under the age of 18 have died from COVID-19. Millions have been infected. Tens of thousands have been hospitalized. Thousands have developed MIS-C, multi-inflammatory syndrome in childhood, and others have experienced lasting symptoms, which is also known as long COVID.
Remember, COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease like many of the other diseases for which we get vaccinated. Most importantly, and to our advantage, the COVID-19 vaccine has proven to work incredibly well in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death. And with so much illness and death being experienced during the pandemic, the development of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be an amazing achievement of science, and the science is overwhelming that vaccines are safe and effective for all ages. In fact, millions of vaccines have been given safely to children of all age. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risks for children.
There's also a long history of vaccines being thoroughly evaluated by both the FDA and the CDC. Indeed, well before COVID-19 vaccines were authorized or even licensed, safety and efficacy data of all vaccines were closely evaluated by both the FDA and the CDC.
If someone who's had COVID infection in the past gets the vaccine, it will not harm him or her and, indeed, will likely boost his or her protection. Data suggests that people who had both vaccination and infection are among the best protected because the vaccine adds to their level of immunity.
Fortunately, scientists continue to closely monitor how long the vaccine protection lasts, and the CDC continues to review evidence and update its guidance as new data become available.
Related Centers and Programs: Vaccine Education Center
Last Reviewed on Mar 06, 2023