Covid-19 vaccine for children: Here's everything parents need to know

Doctors in the UAE urge residents to get their kids fully vaccinated with both doses of the jab

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 10:57 AM

Last updated: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 10:58 AM

Doctors in the UAE urge the residents to get their children fully vaccinated with both doses of the jab, stressing that it is completely safe to do so.

After conducting extensive clinical trials and evaluations, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has approved the Sinopharm or Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for children aged 12-15 years. Although the ministry has made vaccination for children from 3-15 years of age optional and not mandatory, doctors believe that vaccinating children will stave off parents' anxieties during outings and allow them to spend quality time with their kids.

"Vaccines contain a dead or weakened form of the disease-causing virus or bacteria. These cause the body to make antibodies and other beneficial responses that protect the child from that disease," said Dr Tawfiq Nasir Fawazi, Specialist Pediatrician, RAK Hospital.


Doctors say that vaccination helps strengthen a child's natural immunity and helps fight viruses quickly and effectively.

"The Covid-19 vaccine is extremely safe for children and is only being given to children after a careful study & review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals," said Dr Anil Kumar Shetty, Specialist Pediatrician, RAK Hospital.

Vaccinating your child reduced the risk of Covid-19 infections. Doctors have advised the parents not to worry about the temporary irritation after vaccinating their child- possibly the same as adults receiving vaccine shots.

"Covid vaccine will involve some discomfort similar to any other vaccine. It may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection sometimes nausea , head ache and poor appetite which would subside soon," Dr Shetty said.

"But this is minimal as compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the Covid-infected patient."

Health care specialists have advised the parents to educate themselves about the benefits of taking the shot and have a positive outlook towards vaccinating their children.

"Parents should speak to their child and explain the injection is like a sting or a pinch, but it wouldn't hurt long and the discomfort would be gone soon... it is important that the parents inform the doctor of any known allergies, any underlying health issues or concerns prior to vaccination," Dr Shetty advised.

Doctors recommend reading about the vaccines your child will receive and writing down any questions you may have regarding benefits and possible side effects.

"Find your child's personal immunization record and bring it to your appointment. An up-to-date record tells your doctor exactly what shots your child has already received," Dr Fawazi said.

How can a parent support their child during the vaccination process?

Some children are afraid of syringes and are reluctant to get injected, but doctors give a solution for it.

Dr Shetty said that parents can distract the child by showing them a video on their phone or iPad, giving them a toy, or providing them with a comfortable position during vaccination, especially with younger children.

"If your child is older and you can have a chat with them. Be honest with your child and avoid scary stories or making threats about the shots," Dr Fawazi said.

"Parents can also engage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child. Always remind your child that vaccines are good things that can keep him or her healthy," Dr Fawazi added.

Post-vaccination care

After the child is vaccinated, medicos recommend remaining at the hospital for about 30 minutes to ensure that the child receives immediate medical treatment if there are any allergic reactions to the vaccination.

"Allergic reactions to vaccination is quite rare though," said Dr Shetty. "Parents are also advised to pay extra attention for a couple of days after the vaccination and inform the doctor if they notice anything unusual in the child after vaccination."

Once your child has received all of the shots, doctors advise parents to be extra supportive.

"Hold and cuddle your child. A soothing voice, combined with praise and hugs will help reassure the child that everything is okay," said Dr Fawazi.

"Babies can be soothed through swaddling, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding. If older than 6 months, babies can also be given a sweet beverage," added Dr Fawazi.

For older children and adolescents:

>> Point out interesting things in the room to help create distractions.

>> Tell or read stories.

>> Support your child if he or she cries.

>> Never scold a child for not being brave.

>> Take deep breaths with your child to help blow out the pain.

How will vaccines help child's immunity?

Healthcare specialists have found that when a child becomes immunized via a Covid vaccination, their immune system starts making their own antibodies.

"These antibodies will help the body in getting rid of the virus in a safe and effective way. They also help prevent the complications and risk of Covid-19, which is why it is highly recommended to vaccinate your child," Dr Shetty said.

Doctors have urged parents to reach out to them for any further queries they may have regarding the Covid vaccine.


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