A: Don’t wait. Get the vaccine authorized for kids aged 5-11 years.
TL; DR The lower dose produces a strong immune response in kids and may have fewer side effects.
Here’s why getting the dose for kids that is based on their current age is recommended:
1. The immune response in kids is easily stimulated by the smaller dose, regardless of a kid’s size, and possibly with fewer side effects. In the trial, the immune response triggered by the 10-microgram dose tested in kids was similar to that triggered by the 30-microgram dose given to people aged 16-55 years, but with milder side effects reported in kids. The immune response triggered by the 10-microgram dose was also similar across all kids aged 5-11 years. In other words, there is no need for your almost 12 year old to wait for a larger dose.
2. You wouldn’t want your child to get infected while they wait to turn 12 years old. Kids are making up an outsized portion of cases in the U.S. right now (24% of new cases in the past week (100,000+ in total)), the weather is turning colder which will force kids indoors into less well-ventilated spaces, and we can’t predict when or if a new variant of concern might emerge. In other words, waiting is a gamble and it is better to get kids protected sooner rather than take our chances between now and their 12th birthday.
Bottom line, the best vaccine for your kid is the one they can get today (or hopefully in the next few days)! Once the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes their recommendations after today’s meeting, and kids aged 5-11 years are okayed for getting shots in arms, there is NO need to wait until they turn 12!
If you are extra nerdy like us, you can tune into the ACIP meeting happening today right here. Or, if you are not quite THAT nerdy, just check back here for updates!