Recently, the media has been talking a lot about COVID-19 vaccines for children and I believe this has led to a lot of anxiety for some parents getting their child vaccinated, especially when they themselves have experienced several side effects from it before. Due to some misleading information about this vaccine, many parents are afraid to let their little ones get the vaccine. Today, we bring to you Dr Hieu Yu Jin, a Paediatrician from Mini Child Specialist Clinic, who is also a father of two lovely children, to help us understand better and clear up the misunderstanding of the COVID-19's vaccine for children. #Q1: Have other countries started administering the COVID-19 vaccines for children? Dr Hieu Yu Jin: Yes, America has started vaccinating their children from age 5 to 11 years old as of November. This comes after the final approval was given for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine by the CDC Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP). In China as well, they have started vaccinations for children from age 3 to 11 years old in October; this came after the approval of the Sinovac vaccine use in June.\u00a0 #Q2: What are the differences between the COVID-19 vaccine for children compared to adults and adolescents? Image credit: SHRM Dr Hieu Yu Jin: There are slight differences.\u00a0They do receive the same vaccine, it\u2019s not a different one. But the amount they receive is much lower. They receive only 10 micrograms; this is one-third of the adult\u2019s dosage. And they do receive two doses and this is taken 21 days apart. #Q3: Is the vaccine safe and effective for children? Image credit: Parenthood Magazine Malaysia Dr Hieu Yu Jin: Well, it\u2019s a tough question but before I proceed to answer this, perhaps it will be best if I share how the vaccine approval process goes. Alright, there are actually bodies that are responsible for approving as well as regulating the use of medications. Of course, this is done very carefully and only after reviewing data from safety clinical trials as well as input from independent expert advisory committees. In the US, they have the FDA; stands for Food and Drug Administration. In Malaysia, we have our own as well; it\u2019s called the NPRA, which is the National Regulatory Pharmaceutical Agency. Image credit: Financial Times In the US, the FDA has actually approved the emergency use of Pfizer vaccines. This is done after it is reviewed and ongoing clinical trials that involved more than 3,000 children ages 5-11 years old who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and they found a few points. Firstly, on the efficacy of the vaccine itself in this age group. They found that the vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19. Secondly, they compared the immune response of children in this age group who received this vaccine to adolescents and adults who received it earlier on. And they found the immune responses were similar. They have the same immune responses. So, that is another encouraging sign.\u00a0 Thirdly, safety, of course. So, there were only mild to moderate side effects reported and no severe adverse effects have been reported so far, which is quite good. Based on these results, we can say that the known benefits of vaccinating this age group outweigh the potential risks that could happen. #Q4: Will children experience the same side effects as adults? Image credit: Motherhood Story Dr Hieu Yu Jin: Safety data from the clinical trials reveal that the side effects experienced by children are in fact not much different compared to adults. The minor effects reported were: \tpain at the injection site \ta bit of fatigue \theadaches These effects are most commonly experienced within two days after taking the dose as well as more common after the second dose of vaccination. Some of us may have experienced that as well, isn't it? And the good news is that they were short-lived and most of them will be resolved by themselves after a few days even without any medical treatment. And what about a few light symptoms?\u00a0Is that to be expected by children as well?\u00a0 Dr Hieu Yu Jin:\u00a0Well, it could occur as well. But of course, all these are ongoing clinical trials. So we do expect more data coming up, in which you could then see more of these being recorded.\u00a0 #Q5: Should children with some underlying health conditions hold off on this vaccination? Image credit: Depositphoto Dr Hieu Yu Jin: Well, I will go back a bit to the clinical trials. So in the trial itself, children with underlying health conditions such as asthma, allergies and obesity were not excluded from the clinical trials. In fact, as paediatricians, we do not recommend skipping vaccinations; especially for those who have underlying health conditions. From experience, we can see that children with health conditions do experience the most complications from COVID-19 infection itself. They do run into more trouble. So it\u2019s even better if they vaccinate themselves and get protected early. Image credit: WHO Some parents may be concerned because of the risk of myocarditis which is reported; the inflammation of the heart that occurred after vaccination in some adolescents. Yes, there are some side effects such as this. But again, studies have also shown that the risk of myocarditis is higher when a child gets COVID-19 infection itself compared to taking the vaccine. So regardless, if there are any serious concerns regarding your child\u2019s health condition, you should seek a healthcare provider\u2019s opinion before getting the vaccine. Credit image: istock Advice From Dr Hieu Yu Jin Of course this is an exciting development and everyone is waiting to go back to normal scenes, but do remain calm and wait for our government\u2019s directive for vaccination in our children. In the meantime, I do urge for those who are eligible but have yet to get the vaccine to take it, as well as to remain vigilant and keep to standard precautions in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vyLFQt2QB-1E Be sure to bring your kids for COVID-19 vaccine shots near you now to prevent more health risks that will occur. Make sure to stay vigilant and follow SOP.\u00a0 If there are symptoms of COVID-19, please get yourself tested and remain calm. Regardless, stay safe, Mums!\u00a0 For more informative videos for you and for your family\u2019s health, stay tuned with Motherhood Story. If you have any questions for our doctors and experts, head over to our official Facebook page\u00a0and leave your enquiries in the comment section.