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Avera Medical Minute: COVID-19 vaccination age group expands

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 5:13 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Vaccines are now permitted to kids between the ages of 5 and 11, opening up the window of eligible people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC signed off on Pfizer’s vaccine Tuesday night and is available now. Dr. David Basel, Vice President for Avera Medical Group Quality, and an internal medicine/pediatric specialist says, “This approval is an important step in protecting our entire population from COVID-19.”

Tests have shown that the vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in 4,700 children ages 5 through 11. The vaccine’s safety was studied in 3,100 children within this age group, and no serious side effects were detected.

Common side effects did include: sore arm, redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills and/or fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, and decreased appetite.

Generally, these symptoms waned within two days and are “short-lived side effects” that are natural responses of the immune system according to Dr. Basel.

Knowing the facts is important for parents when making the decision of whether or not to vaccinate their children. “It’s impossible to get COVID from the mRNA vaccine, which is just a part or segment of the virus. The vaccine does not remain in the body long-term, so there’s no need for concern about long-term side effects; and, the fear that COVID-19 vaccines can cause future infertility is completely false,” Basel said.

The past few weeks have shown steady numbers in terms of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. The numbers haven’t necessarily spiked, but they are not decreasing either.

“It’s just a grind. There is no way around it,” said Dr. Basel. “We have 100 patients being admitted a day across our system secondary to COVID-related illnesses.”

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