You asked and we answered! DC Area Moms’ readers submitted their COVID Vaccine for Children questions and we answer them with a local mom and Pediatrician, Dr. Tamara Gayle Blackwood.
We are thankful for the opportunity to speak directly with Dr. Tamara Gayle Blackwood, MD, MEd who is a board-certified pediatric physician that graduated from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL. Additionally, she completed her Master’s in Education at Pace University in New York City, NY and completed the Teach for America program. Dr. Blackwood is on faculty at Children’s National Hospital, is an Assistant Professor through George Washington University, and teaches new parents with her classes with Real Talk with Dr. Tam. She and her husband have one daughter and reside in Washington, DC.
See the Full Interview here:
Can we go about normally after our young children are fully vaccinated? Meaning no masks?
Dr. Tamara Gayle Blackwood: So that’s a really great question. And it’s a question that I know, parents are wondering about. The most recent guidance the CDC has said is that you should kind of use red light, yellow light, green light, to use phrasing we all kind of think about. But really trying to figure out if your area is low, medium, or high risk. And then, [determine] if you should mask based on where your community falls. I also tell parents, you can [decide to wear masks], no matter what they say about what the level of risk is–if you’re worried, just go ahead and have your kids wear masks. There’s no guidance saying that you have to put them away if you don’t want to. And for those parents who are like, “you know, we’re kind of ready for a break”, then I think that’s a good way to go about figuring out whether or not you should.
How safe and effective are COVID-19 vaccines for kids?
Dr. Tamara Gayle Blackwood: They are extremely effective. And we have a lot of good data now to say that they’re safe. We’ve had over 26 million kids who have gotten a vaccine so far and they have gone through a very rigorous test process. There were clinical trials, other brave parents who went ahead and had their children be part of these trials. And as a result, we have really good data that they’re safe. I myself have been there when they’ve been administered to help make sure kids did okay afterwards. And it’s really, really rewarding to see after such a long process that we do have these safe vaccines for kids.
Should we be concerned about COVID vaccine side effects for kids, including the risk of myocarditis?
Dr. Tamara Gayle Blackwood: There was definitely concern, particularly with teen boys, and we were seeing in like that 12 to 17 category, that it was happening. I just want to really emphasize that it’s very rare. And there’s a much higher rate of myocarditis that we saw in COVID itself. You know, I myself have taken care of kids after this has happened. So there’s much higher risk with that. So yes, there is a very small risk with the vaccine. But again, it’s a very small and very rare finding. You know, most kids we found just had maybe some site sensitivity, some tiredness, maybe a little headache, but really nothing.
So what is the current position on regular annual COVID vaccines?
Dr. Tamara Gayle Blackwood: That’s definitely a question that I’m kind of wondering too. I get my flu shot every year and I’m wondering if I just need to add the COVID shot to it? I think, you know, we don’t know so far. Whether that will be true, but we do know that all kids 12 and up are now eligible for the booster and as adults to be fully vaccinated, we needed the two series and the booster. We’ll have to see with our kiddos five to 12. And of course, when the under fives are approved. Again, a lot of this is sort of evolving science and an information that we don’t have yet so yeah, we’ll stay tuned.
Should my child be vaccinated even if they’ve already had COVID?
Dr. Tamara Gayle Blackwood: Yes, that is an a really great question. And it’s one that I’ve also heard many times. So the answer is still, yes. Yes, we do know, after kids and adults get COVID, that they do have some some natural immunity. But the thing is, we don’t know how long it lasts. So it’s still really beneficial to get the vaccine because we know that immunity will likely last longer. And it’s just, you know, definitely better, better safe than sorry. So, I would recommend getting the vaccine even after being sick, again, because we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts versus knowing the [if the] vaccine will last longer.
We are grateful to speak directly Dr. Blackwood to answer your COVID Vaccine for children questions. Please share this content with your friends! #WeCanDoThis