Your Vaccine Questions Answered by an Expert


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Phoenix Moms owner Kate Eschbach spoke with Dr. Jaime E. Fergie to ask him all the questions that our community of moms submitted about COVID vaccines. Thank you to Dr. Fergie for answering our readers’ questions. Dr. Fergie is Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiologist at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. Link to Dr. Fergie’s full bio is here.

We know that many parents still have questions about the COVID vaccines for their children. We polled our audience over the last few weeks and found that many questions overlap among the families. Some of the most pertinent questions are transcribed in this article but you can watch the full interview video below. 

Does my child need a booster shot? Are kids eligible?

Dr. Fergie:

Absolutely. The good news is that we can give boosters to those aged 12 and older and adults, and they should get it. I mean, it’s an added level of protection. And I would encourage the families to do it, because there is no way to predict which child is going to have a more severe illness. Clearly, there are some high-risk factors — We know that in particular, adults, you know, age over 65, chronic medical conditions. So chronic medical conditions also affect children. So there are some that are clearly high-risk, but you can have a perfectly healthy child and for reasons we do not know, they can have a more severe illness. So my advice is take advantage of every instrument, of everything that you can do to improve the chances for your child, so that she or he will do well, even if they get COVID. They will do much better with a vaccine than without the vaccine. So, do they need a booster? Sure, and it is a good idea to do it. We’ll do it now for everybody over age 12. And the only thing with the Omicron variant is really we found out it is of tremendous help to have a booster.

I have heard a number of people say that they think the vaccine will affect girls’ fertility as a reason not to get their daughters vaccinated. Is there any truth to this?

Dr. Fergie:

Well, the short answer that is no, there’s no truth to that at all. But I want to reassure parents that the answer comes from a lot of studies, a lot of research. This is great news, we have many different systems to monitor vaccine safety in the country – not that they were created just for COVID. We’ve always had systems to monitor what happened when you introduce a new vaccine in people and beyond the usual mechanism, we implemented additional mechanisms to be sure that the COVID-19 vaccines were absolutely safe and effective. And so far, multiple studies have failed to reveal any connection whatsoever between even the COVID-19 vaccine and any problem in fertility. You have to realize, of course, the vaccine enters your body and then it goes away. There’s nothing that remains in your body, the vaccines do what they were supposed to do, and then is cleared from the body very quickly.

What are the short-term and long-term possible effects of the COVID vaccine? How can you be absolutely certain that these vaccines are safe for children when we have such limited data on long-term effects?

Dr. Fergie:

Well, let’s begin with the short term. The reality is you get a shot of this vaccine. And like many other vaccines, obviously, there’s going to be some pain and soreness and redness, that happens very commonly. On the other hand, many, many children have absolutely no side effects. They may develop some fever and chills that we have seen that frequently, not everybody, but we’re seeing it frequently and then goes away in a matter of one or two days. So those are the short-term. We’re very familiar with that. Long term side effects never really happen. The side effects happen shortly after you are given the vaccine. So, I would reassure parents that there are some side effects, they’re real. You know, you can feel bad for a day or two, you may have chills and fever. I mean, that’s it. And then you recover. But I reassure parents, they should not be concerned about anything that’s going to happen later on down the road. The real problem is getting COVID. That’s a real problem. That’s where you really get in trouble. That’s what’s gonna get you to the hospital Intensive Care Unit. That is what is going to give you the inflammation on the heart and the other things. I’ve seen many children who got complications from COVID, not complications from the vaccine.

This content was paid for by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Catch the full interview here:


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