Dr. Kristina Bryant Answers Columbus Mom Readers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

0
This content was paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the vaccine.

 

interview with a doctor

Although it seems like things are returning to normal for many families, COVID is still among us. We know there are many questions that parents have about COVID-19 vaccines for children. We are grateful for the opportunity to discuss some of these questions with Dr. Kristina Bryant, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Norton Children’s Hospital.


::INTERVIEW QUESTIONS & ANSWERS RE-CAP::

Amy Onifer

Hello, Columbus Moms. I’m Amy Onifer, founder of Columbus Mom, the local parenting website. Thank you for joining us today as we have a special interview with Dr. Kristina Bryant of Norton Children’s in Louisville. This video is recorded in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services. We know that many parents still have questions about the COVID-19 Vaccines for Children. We polled our audience within the last few weeks and gathered some common questions that you all have. Thank you, Dr. Bryant, for being with us today and answering those questions for us.

Dr. Kristina Bryant

Thank you so much, Amy.

Amy Onifer

Yes! The first question we have for you, Dr. Bryant is why would a child need a COVID-19 vaccine when survival rates are high? Could you provide some insight on that?

Dr. Kristina Bryant

Sure. Well, you know, it is true that many children with COVID-19 have mild or even asymptomatic disease, but not all kids do. So here in the Louisville area where I live and practice, throughout much of the pandemic, one or two kids out of 100 with COVID-19 would need to be admitted to the hospital. We know that during the Omicron surge 5,000 kids across the US are hospitalized in a single week. And so there’s really no way for parents to know if their child is going to be someone who’s going to be fine, or is someone who’s going to develop severe disease. Low risk doesn’t mean no risk.

Amy Onifer

Okay, great. Thank you for clarifying that, as I know that’s weighing heavily on a lot of parents’ minds. As a follow-up to that, several parents asked, if my child has already had COVID, why do they still need to be vaccinated? Doesn’t getting COVID give kids natural immunity that works as well as the vaccine? How would you answer that question?

Dr. Kristina Bryant

Kids who do develop natural COVID-19 infection do develop some immunity. That immunity wanes over time. We also know that being infected with one variant doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’re not going to be infected with the next variant that comes down the line. So getting a vaccine after COVID reduces the risk. In some studies, by half that, you’ll go on to get COVID again.

Amy Onifer

Okay, that’s good to know. Thank you. Do you have any advice for parents who have concerns about potential long-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines with children?

Dr. Kristina Bryant

I think parents who have questions should talk to their child’s pediatrician or primary care provider. Those people are really the best ones to go to for information. What I can tell parents is that all of our vaccines that are available for kids right now have undergone a really rigorous process of evaluating for both safety and to make sure that they work well. And so we know that the COVID vaccines that we have for kids right now are safe. They’re not associated with any long-term health effects. Now, by contrast, we know that COVID infection IS potentially associated with long-term health consequences in children. Much, much safer to get the vaccine.

Amy Onifer

Okay, great. Thank you for answering that question. So how well are the COVID-19 vaccines working against the variants?

Dr. Kristina Bryant

From the beginning of the pandemic, people who are vaccinated are less likely than those who aren’t vaccinated, to be infected, to develop symptoms, to need to be admitted to the hospital, to develop severe disease, or to die from COVID. Some parents may be shocked to know that kids can die from COVID-19. Sure, the vaccine doesn’t prevent all infections, but it does prevent severe disease. And that’s great news.

Amy Onifer

Okay. Can kids get another vaccine like the flu shot at the same time that they get the COVID vaccine?

Dr. Kristina Bryant

Absolutely. So part of the monitoring process for COVID-19 vaccines has been to assess is it safe to give the COVID-19 vaccine and another routine vaccine on the same day. And what has been learned is that yes, it’s safe. And it doesn’t impact the effectiveness of either the COVID-19 vaccine or the vaccines that are being given at the same time.

Amy Onifer

Okay, that’s helpful to know. Thank you.

When will COVID vaccines be approved for those under five years of age?

Dr. Kristina Bryant

Oh, that’s the question of the moment, isn’t it, but so many parents want to know. And I don’t want to predict because, right, we’ve predicted before. But what I can say, is that we don’t get any vaccines for kids or adults, until they go through a very rigorous assessment for safety and effectiveness by both the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on immunization practices. And so parents who watch the news are seeing that companies are wrapping up studies and submitting their data to the FDA. And once the FDA decides the vaccines are safe and effective, we’ll get vaccines for little kids.

Amy Onifer

Great. Why should my child get a COVID vaccine? If children are already at a lower risk for severe illness from COVID? You’ve sort of answered this before. But can you touch on that point again?

Dr. Kristina Bryant

Yes, and that is such an important question, Amy, I think it’s good to spend a minute on it. Low risk doesn’t mean no risk. And while many kids develop mild or asymptomatic disease, not all kids do. Some kids will need to be admitted to the hospital. So a vaccine reduces the risk of severe disease and reduces the risk of multi-system inflammatory syndrome. And we know in adults, vaccine reduces the risk of long COVID, which is important.

Amy Onifer

Okay, great. Well, I think that’s all we have time today for Dr. Bryant. We thank you so much for taking your time to answer these questions for our audience. And we thank you to all of our audience members that did submit questions or are listening today. We encourage everyone to share this with their friends and family, as well, and take a listen.

And we wish everyone the willingness to have these conversations. So we’ll be publishing a recap of this interview for everyone to reference on our website. So keep an eye out for that shortly. So in the meantime, enjoy the rest of the day. And thank you Dr. Bryant, for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us all.

Dr. Kristina Bryant

Thanks for the invitation to be here.

Amy Onifer
Thank you. Bye.


::CATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE::

Shortly after this interview was recorded, CDC approved boosters for kids ages 5-11 and recommends them for everyone 5 and older.

doctor discussion

Previous articleSummer Fairs and Festivals In & Around Columbus
Next article5 Ways Busy Moms Can Find More “Me Time”
Amy is an "on the go momma" to two spunky and fun loving kids (ages 9 & 8). She came to Columbus to pursue a career in elementary education and decided this was home. She’s an avid traveler, yet can’t master the art of packing. Her philosophy is bring it all because you don’t know if you’re going to need it. If you ever decide to take a trip with her, don’t worry about bringing a camera because she’ll take enough photos of the experience that it will likely crash your hard drive. Before kids, you could find everything neatly organized and straight vacuum lines in her carpet, but these days she's not bothered with worrying about the small stuff. You can catch her belting out her favorite song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and using her two left feet to bust a move with her family during their frequent impromptu dance parties. She loves living in such a family-friendly city!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here