With COVID-19 vaccines now approved for use with the youngest children – ages six months through 5 years, Granville-Vance Public Health Director Lisa Harrison encourages parents to ask questions of health care professionals to determine the best course of action when deciding which vaccine to choose.
Harrison spoke on Town Talk Wednesday with John C. Rose and said there is a wealth of information for parents located at www.gvph.org. She said it’s important to get information from trusted sources – like your child’s pediatrician or from the local health department.
Specialized nurses and immunization nurses administer the vaccines at the health department for anyone who wants a shot, including this youngest group of children most recently approved to get the vaccine.
The Pfizer shot is a three-series shot and is cleared to be given to children six months through 4 years. The Moderna shot is a two-dose series and is cleared for children through age 5. Both vaccines are now at the health department, and parents can consult with health professionals before deciding which one to ask for.
“Both are certainly well tested and effective,” she said.
Side effects are similar to those that adults have after getting shots and boosters – swelling and redness at injection site, slight fever or feeling tired for a day or two, but that’s about it, Harrison said.
Vance and Granville counties both have returned to “high” transmission rates recently, and Harrison said as long as the counties remain in this category, she personally will choose to wear a mask when she is indoors with a lot of people. When she’s outside, she opts to not wear a mask.
It’s more difficult for younger children to keep masks on, and to follow the other W’s – “wait” 6 feet apart and “Wash” your hands frequently, she said, so vaccines for this youngest group just makes good health sense.
In fact, masks are not recommended for children ages 2 and under.
Vaccines “are the biggest and most important intervention we’ve had over the last hundred years,” she explained. And the various COVID-19 vaccines are more tested than any other vaccine.
One thing that health professionals have learned over the course of the pandemic is the unpredictable nature of the virus. “It’s hard to have this much patience with a mutating virus, for sure,” she said. Being vaccinated, however, is “the way we get through to the other side of the pandemic,” she added.