A: Yes. Kids need COVID-19 vaccines. It is safe. It is necessary.
When we compare kids who get COVID-19 to kids who do not get COVID-19, we see quite clearly that kids CAN and DO get really sick, and it is worth protecting them. And when we compare vaccinated kids to unvaccinated kids, the results are unequivocal. Kids need COVID-19 vaccines.
** Let’s compare kids who get COVID-19 and are vaccinated to kids who get COVID-19 and are not vaccinated.** A recent study made this comparison during the Omicron wave in two age groups in New York. Unvaccinated kids age 5-11 were 3 times as likely as vaccinated kids to end up in the hospital during the peak of the Omicron wave. Kids ages 12-17 who were unvaccinated were 4 times as likely to be hospitalized.
In the United States, 60% of kids ages 12-17 have had 2 or more doses. 30% of kids ages 5-11 have had two shots. And just 1.5% of children ages 6 months – 4 years have had their two shots.
So yeah, that’s pretty bad news.
It’s true that we do not have a comparison of hospitalizations for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated kids in that 6 months-4 years group. Yet. Sometime soon we will, and there’s no reason to think it the numbers will be radically different in this younger age group.
We often hear parents saying that since kids don’t tend to get as sick for as long as adults, they don’t need shots. This is faulty logic. Comparing kids to adults doesn’t really tell us anything about whether vaccinating kids helps *kids*. When it comes to deciding whether to vaccinate your kiddo, the choice in front of you is not “will my child be 6 years old or 76 years old?”
The choice is “will my child be a vaccinated 6-year-old or an unvaccinated 6-year-old?” Kids who get COVID-19 do worse than kids who don’t, and when they do get COVID-19, kids who are not vaccinated do worse than kids who.
Bottom line: Get your kids vaccinated. It is safe. It is necessary. The end.