SAN ANTONIO — School has already started for thousands of kids in south Texas and many schools require their students to be up to date on their vaccines. There are a wide range of vaccines that are available starting at two weeks of age all the way through their teenage years.
"So for younger infants, we're looking at the HIB vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine, the pertussis vaccine. For older kids, we're looking at varicella, MMR, even the HPV vaccine as well as other vaccines," said Dr. Mandie Tibball Svatek, who is a pediatric hospitalist with University Health and a Professor of Pediatrics with UT Health San Antonio, says the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in childhood has been associated with unvaccinated children. She added, "Even studies have shown that that greater than 90% of those cases are unvaccinated children. Also, the COVID cases that do come in, the majority are unvaccinated children."
The CDC says most childhood vaccines are 90% to 99% effective in preventing disease. A vaccine must go through detailed clinical trials before it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children. Vaccines boost natural immunity. And vaccines are necessary to protect others who are too young or immunocompromised. That includes the COVID vaccine. Dr. Svatek said, "This is an exciting time because we've opened up the opportunity for six months, up to five years now over the past two months to be vaccinated."
But for parents who are worried about how safe it is? Dr. Svatek told us, "We're seeing side effects such as fever, fatigue, arm pain being a little bit fussy, but not really any severe side effects from the studies shown."
To find out which vaccines your child needs the schedule is listed on the CDC immunization schedule web page. Dr. Svatek also says the easiest thing parents can do is to call their family pediatrician to schedule a child well check visit to get them up to do date with their vaccines, and don't forget about their flu shot.
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