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Seattle doctor's advice on vaccinating children and babies, when the time comes

Children under 16 will be the last age group eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Seattle Dr. Elizabeth Meade has advice for parents.

SEATTLE — Children and teens under the age of 18 comprised 24% of the U.S. population in the last full census of 2010. Getting kids vaccinated is considered important in the race to achieve herd immunity, especially if significant numbers of adults opt-out.

“Until we can have a majority of those kids vaccinated and get that community immunity, we’re not going to receive that full protection in terms of immunity for the entire population,” said Dr. Elizabeth Meade, president of the Washington chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Meade is also the Director for Pediatric Quality at Swedish Medical Center on First Hill in Seattle. KING 5 asked Meade what parents should be looking for when it comes to getting their kids vaccinated, especially if their child is not yet old enough to receive the Pfizer vaccine in the next few months.

“So I would say, hang tight, that probably Pfizer will be available for younger children sometime in the summer, and hopefully, again, we can get a big bunch of kids vaccinated before people start going back to school in the fall,” Meade said.  

She referred to kids in a Pfizer clinical trial down to age 12, where the drug company has already reported the vaccine is safe and effective.  

Pfizer and Moderna have both already started trials down to age six months, and Johnson & Johnson also plans trials for 12 to 17-year-olds. Meade suspects more vaccines will receive emergency use authorization for younger kids in the fall.

Pfizer said it hopes to receive coronavirus vaccine authorization for children 6 months to 11 years by early 2022. WASHINGTON - Pfizer has launched a pediatric trial to determine the safety of its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 11 years old.

Meade said parents often ask about the timing of kids getting the COVID-19 vaccine, especially since babies and children undergo a lot of vaccines in their young lives. 

“One thing parents should know," Meade said, "is there are limits to getting the COVID vaccine if you’ve had other vaccines in the past couple of weeks. So as we think about back-to-school, when kids are more eligible for the vaccine, they just need to make sure they talk about the timing with their pediatrician or family doctor. They can get all of the regular back-to-school and childhood vaccinations, as well as the COVID vaccination.” 

Meade said she plans to have her own 6-year-old vaccinated, once the vaccine is approved.