NewsVaccine in Arizona


Valley doctors weigh in on COVID-19 vaccine for children

Posted at 10:38 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-30 00:38:55-05

COVID-19 vaccines are not yet approved for children but, they could be soon. Some parents are excited about the option.

"I have them in daycare and in preschool because we both work during the day, my husband and I, so I feel safer knowing they could go to school now with a vaccine,” says Stacey

The government’s top infectious disease expert is hopeful that children could start being vaccinated as early as late spring or summer. It is part of the effort to securing widespread immunity to the virus. We asked local doctors to weigh in.

"I think it's great as long as we can have the evidence that it's safe and effective,” says Dr. Wassim Ballan, pediatric infectious disease specialist, Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Wassim Ballan is a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He says there are benefits - such as limiting the spread of infection - but like many others, he believes we must look at the short-term and long-term effects first.

"That is something that we will be able to tell from our experience with vaccinating the older population,” says Dr. Ballan.

Although a COVID-19 vaccine for kids is still in the clinical trial stage, it’s on the minds of many.

"Do you think my kids need to have this vaccine, and do you recommend it?" says Dr. Kristin Struble, Camelback Pediatrics.

Dr. Kristin Struble with Camelback Pediatrics wants to make sure she is confident before giving an answer. She says there are many factors to take into account.

"Long-term safety data regarding any sort of autoimmune disease or something called GBS that's extremely rare with vaccines like the flu. I would want to see if they saw an increased number of that with this particular vaccine,” says Dr. Struble.

As we wait for the data, Phoenix Children’s does have a message for parents: make sure your kids are up-to-date on all vaccinations, including the flu shot. Doctors say coinfections have been a concern even before the pandemic.

“If a child catches COVID-19, and at the same time they also get infected with influenza, we don't know how the two viruses are going to behave together,” says Dr. Ballan.

If successful, there would be another round of testing for children as young as 9-years-old and younger.